The Lift

I’ve got a lazy leg. It needs active encouragement. I notice this most when kicking up to go upside down, as in handstand or forearm balance.

There’s always that leg that just doesn’t want to go the distance. I have to remember to take notice of that leg, turn my inward gaze on it, and visualize it lifting all the way up. C’mon, lift!

Amazing this actually works. This is one of those odd things that probably come easy to some and took me ten years of yoga practice to learn. Not how to go upside down, but how to think my leg into working the way I want it to. The mind-body connection in action.

And it doesn’t only work for me. I gave the big secret away to one of my students who’s learning preparations for inversions. Just like that: Think about your second leg, with extra umph! And it worked.

Mostly I love it that practice is unending, but sometimes it can be discouraging. When my body snaps right back into familiar habits of crookedness, stiffness, and laxity. Is there something unreasonable about practicing anything – for hours! for years! a lifetime! – that never “makes perfect” and doesn’t end?

On days that I practice and feel particularly out-of-whack, frustration and defeatism may arise. My thoughts send me into self-doubt: Can a yoga teacher be this asymmetrical? If I can’t even … fill in the blank… what business do I have teaching? And so on.

Don’t believe everything you think. Because meanwhile, my body is simply grateful – in that deep relief of muscle and bone kind of way, new or neglected pathways in the body lighting up – for the movement, the opening space, the awakening, the lift.

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