The Genesis of My Yoga: Part III

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The Genesis of My Yoga: Part III

“Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down.” -Jigar Gor

When filling out the paperwork to practice yoga at the studio, one of the questions they asked was what my goals were or what I wanted to accomplish through my practice. I wasn’t quite sure what to put down. It was January, and one of my New Year’s resolutions was to do something just for me.

I had always wanted to practice yoga more seriously, and I thought a studio could help with that. However, that didn’t sound like what they were asking for with this question. So, I answered the first thing that came to mind: I want to be able to touch my toes.

In middle and high school, there were always two days in gym class I both loved and hated: fitness test days. There was one at the beginning of the year, which set the bar for the one at the end of the year; we had to beat our goal in every category from the test at the beginning of the year. I partly loved those days because I could show off how well I could balance, but I also hated those days because I sucked at flexibility and never beat my goals at the end of the year in that category.

One test in particular was absolutely mortifying. We had to sit on the ground with our legs straight out, fold forward, and push this metal bar as far away from us as we could.

Everyone made such a big deal about showing off how far they could push this stupid metal bar, and I’m not sure why out of all the tests this one was the most important to everyone, but I could never even touch the metal bar, let alone move it. These moments flashbacked in my mind as I wrote my goal of touching my toes down on the dotted line on the studio paperwork.

In the months that followed, my yoga practice started feeling like fitness tests days in gym class again. I was both relieved and excited when we focused on balancing postures like Bakasana (Crow pose), and I was miserable and frustrated when we focused on seated folding postures like Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend pose).

I had such a bad attitude about it that I distinctly remember pouting in the corner during one practice because I couldn’t even do the modified pose. I even got so angsty that I wrote poems about it. That’s right, I took it off the mat and home with me.

Clearly, the problem wasn’t that I couldn’t do the full expression of the pose; the problem was my attitude about the pose in relation to myself.

Clearly, the problem wasn’t that I couldn’t do the full expression of the pose; the problem was my attitude about the pose in relation to myself. Nobody was making me feel this way; nobody was pointing and laughing at me; nobody was frustrated with me or disappointed in me. Nobody, that is, but me. I was the source of my own misery. What a waste of time, energy, and yoga! It took time and work on the mat to let that shit go, especially once the universe made me see that my attitude was the problem. And it’s still something I’m constantly working on.   

To this day, nearly five years later, I still can’t touch my toes without hyperextending, and I still struggle with seated forward folds. In the same vein, I can still balance like a beast, and then trip walking over my own two feet on the way out of the studio because karma. The genesis of yoga isn’t touching my toes or pushing a metal bar. The genesis of my yoga isn’t doing the fullest expression of any pose, whether it’s flexibility or balance. The genesis of my yoga is letting go of my ego on the way down and just enjoying my yoga for what it is: practice.

I would love to hear your story of your favorite and not-so-favorite yoga poses. Post a comment below!


*This article is Part III of a three-part series: The Genesis of My Yoga. To read Part I, click HERE.

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About Holly Adcock:

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Today, Holly Adcock is still a hamburger-eating yogi who practices yoga at 9 o’clock at night after a late English class, except this time, she’s teaching the class as a full-time professor. Her previously published work includes a poem entitled “This Old Room” and an essay called “I’m Sorry, Mr. Jackson, I am Not Real.” She lives in New Bern, North Carolina with her husband, two cats, and one dog. In her spare time, she enjoys making rice bags for her non-profit, Rice Bags With Love, and learning to garden. For more information, visit her website https://hmlynn1.wixsite.com/janeofalltrades or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/holly.lynn.31337.