I was the only man in this yoga class, trying to understand what yoga was and how it could benefit my life.
After I pushed through that initial rough patch where yoga was completely foreign to me, I found a new sense of mindfulness and bliss was achievable every time I practiced yoga. It became something I looked forward to every week, and something that significantly enhanced my life.
I came to find that I could learn valuable life lessons just by coming to my mat.
Below, six things I learned about life through Crow Pose.
This might be the most challenging task for many. As a guy—who is a clear minority in a yoga class filled with women—it can be challenging to embark on this new adventure. At first the tough part for me was understanding what this yoga thing was all about. This couldn't be done from far away. I had to experience it.
Once I had a general understanding of what yoga was all about—the mindfulness of breath and the alignment of breath—then I wanted to see what was really possible. My yoga instructor showed us Crow Pose. I was fascinated and wanted to know more. My excitement only grew when I saw she could take Crow Pose to Headstand.
Over and over again I would try Crow Pose. It would give me a new height of exhilaration in class, and I looked forward to trying it over and over again. It was in the practice of the technique, the learning, and the process that I got the most joy out of Crow Pose.
Countless times I would push my Crow Pose to its limit as it was then, and I would fall or lose my balance (thankfully, never knocking anyone else over). I learned new depths of movement and expression by challenging myself out of my normal movement of being. You don't know where you can or can't go until you try.
Eventually having these new experiences of movement led me to advance my capabilities. There was one day where I did Crow Pose perfectly, and then I transitioned into Headstand—it was blissful. Through even more continuous practice, this sequence became easier and easier. Soon I came to a place where coming into Headstand from Crow was no longer an intense challenge, but rather a rush of excitement and joy. I came to feel an even greater depth of emotion from this exercise in my yoga practice.
What is most impactful for me in Crow Pose and in transitioning to headstand is the ability for self-growth and improvement. The knowledge that I can take myself further and challenge myself even more is empowering. By expanding my capabilities I can feel it profoundly in my heart chakra. Every time after doing headstand, the elation that comes after relaxes me even further into that wonderful place of Savasana.
From being on my yoga mat—a place that would have been totally foreign to me years ago—I have learned many lessons in life. It has taken me to new depths in awareness and presence. I look forward to many more new lessons from being on that mat.