I have been consistently practicing yoga for 3 years. I consider myself to have a strong practice despite being unable to do a lot of poses.
Pincha Mayurasana (forearm stand) became a symbol for my personal practice which was an uphill climb given my body type. A simple pose for a lot of yogis but it was my Kilimanjaro and I had never climbed a mountain before. I even hate taking the stairs. So you can just imagine how hard this was for me. It was a seemingly impregnable feat up until the day I finally did it by myself a year and a half after a hard fall.
Two years ago (October 2015), I had just switched jobs to be able to concentrate on yoga. I had been practicing consistently for a year and half at that point. During one class, I felt confident enough to hop up into pincha mayurasana (facing the wall) on my own with my teacher Marc by the wall waiting to catch me. First time, success. Second time, still ok. Third and last time, *blag*! I don’t remember what exactly happened but I remember hopping up but then I failed to gain enough height so I fell. I fell so hard that I felt the impact in my entire body. All eyes were on me. I reckon the other people in class felt a mixture of pity and compassion. I remember being embarrassed. I swore never to hop up by myself again. I told myself I just wasn’t strong enough, I have the tightest shoulders in the world, and that my forearms are not strong enough to support my body weight.
One of the things that yoga has taught me is that we should accept things as they are, never forcing anything. I told myself that I should be ok not being able to do Pincha, ever. I led myself to believe that my body type was not made for Pincha. After all, who can argue with nature?
My practice continued. I was making a lot of progress in other poses and parts of my body. I did all the work and the preparation for Pincha whenever it was offered – shoulder opening, core work, but I wouldn’t go up on my own when time came for us to do the full pose in class. I was always reminded of that fall and that stopped me from even trying by myself.
Still, I just kept doing the work. Whether I could do the full pose or not became secondary. Every time everyone else in class nonchalantly did the inversion, I would keep my head down, reminding myself that there is more work to be done. Marc would occasionally signal me to go up with his assistance and he would always tell me that I was strong enough to do it by myself but I didn’t believe him. Another fall would be catastrophic for me. I would’ve lost my confidence totally, and maybe permanently, and that I could not risk.
One auspicious Saturday morning, which started just like any Saturday morning class, Marc made us do Pincha. I wasn’t able to go up during class but I felt that I was so close during my attempts. After class, Marc came up to me and told me that he saw how close I came to doing Pincha and that it was high time that I finally do it by myself. I went into dolphin pose facing the wall gearing up for what seemed like taking a huge leap of faith. My yoga peers were watching so there was pressure for me to perform. First hop, not quite. Second hop, almost. Third hop, success! To prove to myself it wasn’t a fluke, I did it again. I couldn’t believe it. I finally did it. I left the studio, went about my day but it felt like I just conquered the world and to see your hard work finally pay off brings one immense satisfaction.
3 years of consistent yoga practice 5x a week, around 250 classes a year has led me to achieve this feat. I had battled with many demons to reach this point – self-doubt, laziness, and the horrid Manila traffic. Being able to do Pincha Mayurasana was just the icing on the cake. The practice itself was the real prize.
On my journey to reach this pose, I realized that hard work and patience persevere above all obstacles and as cliché as it sounds, the adage, ‘it’s the journey, not the destination.” still holds true.
Ciara Ledesma is a corporate junkie who has found the light in yoga. She juggles an 8-5 job and a regular yoga practice to strike a balance between work and a healthy lifestyle. She strives to keep healthy and believes her size has never been an impediment to having a strong yoga practice.