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Punta Cana Sirsasana {Image credit: Amy J.}

Yoga has become a huge part of my life this past year. My practice has stretched me physically, mentally, and emotionally in ways I didn't know were possible, and I've reaped rewards far beyond killer triceps and tighter hamstrings.

As a novice, there was a constant temptation to compare myself to other more seasoned yogis in the studio. I'd try desperately to twist and contort my body into the advanced poses they executed with ease. Thoughts of self-doubt would race through my head, and I'd wonder if anyone was watching and ridiculing my form. Oftentimes, it was insecurity, rather than inability, that caused me to topple. It was unnerving, to say the least.

I quickly realized that my negativity was dangerous and could lead to injuries (aka faceplants), or even worse, discouragement. I started letting go of my hang-ups and began trusting my body and intuition. Establishing an honest relationship with myself was crucial, and it allowed me to eventually develop flexibility, balance, strength, and most importantly, confidence.

This was a profound lesson for me. I constantly struggle with high personal expectations and fears of failure, which leads me to be overly self-critical and pessimistic. As I continue to work on myself, I hope to find power to confront my limits, to be resilient when I fall, and have the courage to enjoy my transformation.

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Reader Comments (9)

Man i hear ya! i think i pulled m y back trying to hard to do adv. pose.
I guess there is some kinda humbleness (or sumn) in yoga. If you can't do it, its okay to be the less advance poses cuz one day it'll happen.

thanks for sharing tho =) If it matters, you always seem to make it easy looking when we go together LOL.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShampoo

my neighbor's dog was stretching on sunday and my brother was like, "look! the dog is doing downward facing dog!!" i looked over and in my head i was like, "ooooooooooh. THAT'S why that pose is called downward facing dog!!!! it makes so much sense now!!!" lol...i had a blonde moment =Þ

i'm doing some yoga at home in the privacy of my own living room (mostly due to the aforementioned fears in your blog and partially due to the fact i'm too lazy to take the train downtown). i'm actually able to stretch a little bit better now. i can ALMOST have my feet flat on the ground for downward facing dog now. slowly but surely, i will get it...

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterreba

Wow that headstand is really really impressive! I also like what you share so honestly. I feel the same way a lot of times too. Keep it up!

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

You have great form hun! Which studio do you go to?

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterManda

"Fear" and "doubt" are key words. I think yoga teaches us to be less optimistic and more open-minded about ourselves. Once we let go of our fears and doubt about our abilities the more open we become to the possibilities of what we can do both physically and in life. At the basic level -- in yoga -- I let go of my fear of the plow pose. Now, I do it the moment I hear "time for inversions." Fearlessness about ourselves. Then fearlessness about the world. Confidence. Calm.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhipsterspecs

So THAT'S how you keep such a nice figure??

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

I admire your courage to write this honestly.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramy

@Shampoo - Remember when we signed up for "Advanced Level 4" classes as noobs and everyone was practically levitating? Good times, I miss our yogi dates!
@Reba - You're coming with us next time. Wonka has good down-dog form, I take notes from him :)
@Cathy - Yes, by eating tons of Humble Pie at the studio!
@Hipsterspeca - So very true, and love that you default to plow now. You look amazing, by the way.
@ Cindy & Amy - Thank you for the affirmation. Sometimes it's scary to write about personal weaknesses, but it also builds courage and strength!

April 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterJennifer

Wahhhhhhhhh. I miss yoga. :(

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterting

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