We were working on a new pose in class today, the crow pose. Can I say I am not a fan. Not at all. The pose makes me feel weak, awkward, scared that I will fall on my head, a little frustrated and silly. Fortunately I have a great teacher who breaks down each new pose into bite-size nuggets and reminds me that we can 'hang out' in any step of the pose as long as we like and that is just fine. Whewww.
Then I remembered that it was not too long ago that down dog was not a favorite of mine. I have little upper body strength and down dog for me was not the calming, balancing pose others found it to be. It was hard work and focused breathing punctuated with a little silent prayer that we would move onto the next pose NOW!
As you know down dog is a key pose in all classes. There is no escaping the dog. So I made a decision, I could fear it or train it. I practiced down dog at home before my morning coffee, used it as an excuse to break away from the computer for a bit and I embraced it in class. Soon my left heel was on the mat, then my right. I was lifting one leg and moving it about and getting into the fun side of down dog. Down dog was my break between poses, my time to balance. I had made friends with the dog.
One step, one pose at a time, right? We wouldn't expect a new runner to lace on her shoes and take a five mile run right out of the gate. We would start with a slow run/walk and build our strength and trust in our ability to do the longer run. It’s the same with down dog and now crow.
If you are new to yoga like I am I promise you that if you stick with it and take it one step at a time you will find yourself getting stronger, more flexible and more confident in your ability. The pose that once made you feel a tinge of apprehension will become your friend.