I hate, loathe, detest (basically any word you can think of that denotes total and utter disgust) the yoga position of downward facing dog.
You see, I have one hand. My forearms are the same length but my right arm stops at my wrist. I don't have a right hand, a palm, or fingers. Basically, it is just bone.
I grew up doing everything everyone else did. I can tie my shoes, do my hair - the list goes on and on. Sure, I could never climb that rope in gym class but really who wants to do that anyway?
When I started practicing yoga. I never considered that some positions would be difficult. I just started doing it. I use a block for some positions, to give myself more balance and to take some pressure off my right arm but you can't use a block in downward facing dog.
Hence, the hate.
It's not comfortable. Relying on my upper body, ultimately, my arms and hands, to bear the weight of this body is hard.
A yoga mat only provides so much cushion. Trying to find the sweet spot, where my arm can dig into the mat and not kill me, can be hit or miss. I'm also incredibly stubborn and will stay in that freaking position until the cows come home just to prove that I can do it. I want people to think that I am a cool, capable yogi.
And because I am concentrating so hard on not giving up - I usually stop breathing. Which if you know anything about yoga is ridiculous because yoga is ALL about breathing.
It becomes a battle of will. Will I give up? Will I wiggle and wiggle until I find that spot where I can hang out until the next movement? Will I breathe? Will I take that time to breathe and be proud of myself for always trying and trying even when it is hard?
Life, recently, has felt like one very long moment in downward facing dog. Uncomfortable, stressful, and raw. I feel vulnerable. I care too much about what other people think. I often forget to breathe.
This past week, I was in downward facing dog and having the usual fight with myself about how much I hate this position and this is so ridiculous and why do I continue to do this to myself and something made me stop. BREATHE LAUREN. Just breathe. And as I took each breath, thinking about only that breath - in, out, in, out - it got easier. Not less uncomfortable - just easier to bear.
So, as the holiday season rolls in, and things get complicated with traveling to 3 different states in 4 weeks with 3 kids, and negotiating expectations and celebrations - I am going to carry that mantra with me. BREATHE LAUREN. Just breathe.