Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Year of Forearm Balancing

Last winter, after Sara and I were a few classes into The Lab, I heard one of the instructors use the phrase, "That's a (x) year pose."

My impatient mind took note at what the measure was. Not hours, nor days or even months. Years.

Though most of the poses ranged from challenging to impossible at that time, the "year pose" statement was a reminder that yoga wasn't about to come easy.

Back then, I don't know that I'd given enough thought to my practice to know if I would still be in a yoga routine for a year. It was, after all, winter. Soon enough spring would come and I'd be outside doing what I really loved - running.

In comes forearm balance:

Borrowed from on Pinterest

How many times had I done forearm balance before coming to The Lab? Zero. How many times I have done it since? Hundreds. Dozens of attempts in just about every class I've taken there.

My first forearm balance was more of an imbalanced train wreck of bad headstand. In other words, I had no idea how to even approach the pose.

Over time, I would build strength, stretch out my legs and learn the correct position of the hips. I would spend dozens of classes kicking with too little effort to get a leg up. I would watch as others kicked up effortlessly while I waited for instructor help.

Back then, a year seemed like an awfully long time.

When running season wrapped up in October, I changed up my yoga routine. Instead of coming just once a week, I would try twice a week. Maybe even back to back days. I would challenge myself each practice and I'd be sore afterwards, but I knew I was getting stronger.

As the holidays closed in, I decided to try for three classes a week. I was running next to never by then, so I had exercise time to commit. Three days turned into three days in a row. In the last few months of increased practices, some poses have started to come together. Poses I never thought I would be able to do (using that phrase lightly as I have a long way to go to mastery), like 8 Angle pose, Dragonfly and Firefly.

Regardless of how challenging the class was, a class at The Lab always ends with an inversion. So whether I was successful or not that day, forearm balance was staring me down at the end. I used to dread it. I would be so sweaty and exhausted at the end of a class that I didn't think I could muster the strength to do it. Over time, my body would show me that it had acclimated to my new form of training. Suddenly I didn't mind forearm balance.

At the beginning of Febraury (which I'm guessing was week 51 or 52 at The Lab), I've finally started to kick up into forearm balance without touching the wall. Proper positioning in the kick up. Victory! Balancing for a few seconds. Double victory!

A year. Yep, a year sounds just about right.

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