Dancing in the rain: accepting what life throws at you

Life’s not about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

–  Vivian Greene

On Saturday, I went to a physical therapist for the first time. I was curious about why I was unable to go deeper into certain open-hip poses such as pigeon, agnistambasana (fire log pose), gomukhasana (cow’s face pose), and eka pada koundinyasana. Though I practiced asana 4-5 times a week — sometimes more — I was not seeing improvement in those types of poses. Aghh!

At my appointment, I told Robert what my issue was and showed him the poses that I was having trouble with. He had me lie down on a bed and bent one of my legs, swinging my lower leg left and right. In two minutes, he had the answer. (He’s good.)

“Aha!” he said, “it’s your bones.”

He explained that my pelvic bones were slightly turned in at the hips: the articulation between my femur and hip sockets (i.e. where they meet) was turned inwards, which limited my range of motion. Therefore my bone structure was preventing me from opening up into the full expression of those poses.

It might be possible to increase flexibility at my hip joints, but not without decreasing stability or damaging the joints. No thanks.

So what now?

I went to my first class since the appointment on Monday. With new awareness of my body, I was able to do each pose more mindfully. I was discovering myself in a new way. And it felt great!

Do I feel remorse that I probably won’t be able to do some of those sweet looking arm balances, such as eka pada koundinyasana, bhuja pidasana (shoulder pressing pose), or titthibhasana (firefly)? Kinda. But on the flip side, poses such as mandukasana (frog pose) and upavista konasana (seated wide legged forward fold) come easily to me.

Obstacles like this one could prevent me from enjoying and growing in my yoga practice. It could make me feel incomplete, or unable to achieve the “real pose”. Or, it could make me a more compassionate and knowledgable teacher, and grow my practice in a direction I haven’t even imagined yet. I could wait for the storm to pass, and when the next one comes, wait for that to pass too. I could spend my life waiting for each storm to pass. Or, I could step outside and dance in the rain.

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