One day while attending a class we were encouraged to go into an asana known as Crow. In this pose you squat down with your feet and knees wide and your palms between your legs, flat on the ground. You are then suppose to raise up onto your palms while balancing your thighs against your upper arms. I’ve done this pose. It’s not easy and requires upper body strength as well as balance. Another reason I practice yoga is to take me out of my comfort zone. When I attempt a pose that I know does not come easily, it makes me feel brave. It’s brave with a small “b” but it empowers me when I’m out in the world to be brave, sometimes even “Brave.” I took the position and slowly raised up onto my palms and then fell straight over onto my nose. I fell with a very loud “whack!” This particular yoga class had about thirty people in it and I know everyone of them heard the sound of my flop. I hoped they were so involved in trying their own pose that they didn’t look up but I was sure everyone was looking at me, if just to make sure I was still alive.
I was lucky and my fall didn’t result in a broken or bloody nose but it did result in a dented ego. Most of the class knows I am a Registered Yoga Teacher and I pride myself on my ability to do some of the more advanced positions and there was my lesson. I was prideful. I am always telling people, “Anyone can do yoga.” But, the response I usually get is that they are not flexible enough. What they are really saying is unless I’m already good at something, I am not willing to try it. Our egos have become the wall that keeps us imprisoned in our small comfortable space. Whenever I think of that fall while attempting the Crow pose, I laugh. It was a wonderful lesson. It was humbling and it was exactly what I needed to learn from that day’s practice.
After being told to “hold my fragile ego gently in my palm.” I began to think of all those other times when my ego prevented me from fully experiencing life. I wondered when did that begin? Certainly, as a child I wasn’t afraid to try new things. If that were true, one would never learn to walk or to talk. One would never learn anything! Those amazing seniors had put away their egos in order to go onto the stage and share their skills. That’s another secret to a full, rich, fun filled life; hold your ego gently and don’t let it prevent you from trying something new, something at which you might not be good, something at which you might be terrible but who cares! Life is too short not to experience it all. Gently place your ego down and live life like a child whose is first exploring their world.