I have a love / hate relationship with Pincha Mayurasana. Mostly I love it. Actually, I always love it, but it doesn’t always love me. There are days when I can get up (and then come right back down, of course) and then there are other days in which I’m closer to getting to Pluto (which will always be a planet to me, regardless of what those science geeks are saying nowadays.) It was a goal of mine last year to make it away from the wall by July 4. I worked my tail feather off (get it?) and ended up pinching not a mayurasana, but a nerve in my back. Awesome, eh? Yep, that little injury took me out of commission for awhile (although it did get me a nice glute massage by Simon Park – heh heh,) and kind caused me to be fah-reaked out by the peacock. Of course, if you know me at all, you know that means that I want to accomplish it even more!
Try and try and try and I made it away from the wall – but still, next to the wall. I could get up there, balance against the wall, and then step off and hover for awhile, but the minute I tried to do it in the middle of the room, I swear, my legs turned into lead. It is quite a lot like my experience with Sirsasana, actually. Frustrating to say the least.
During difficult asanas (and remember, what’s easy for some is probably quite difficult for others, so I could be talking about Tadasana or Tittibhasana,) I tell my students to “let go of what is not needed to hold the pose.” So I might say, “you don’t need your tongue for this, let it go. You don’t need your shoulders for this, release them,” etc. Sometimes I might even say, “You don’t need your boss (husband / wife / children / ego / scale / dress size) right now, so let go.” Yoga is about using what you need at the moment and releasing what you don’t. It’s the duality of it all, honoring both sides by saying yes and no at the same time.
What is it that we need to hold onto to break through our barriers and fly? What is that we need to let go of so that we can grab on to something more stable, more comforting, more encouraging? The answer is different for everyone.
Today I lay out my new mat. I have to say, it’s probably the best mat I have ever used and I am already deeply in love with it. I let it lay out and went and got a glass of water. As I reached for the cabinet, I saw a note that my young yogi son taped to the door. He taped it there so I would see it whenever I needed it and, let me tell you I needed it today. I needed to hold on to my grippy mat and the idea that I have people who believe in me.
I needed to be one of those people.
I sat on my mat and opened my hands. I shook them out and shook my arms out. I needed to let go. I need to let go of fear, expectations, worry, failure feelings, desire, shame, guilt, shoulds, and all that other crappy mind noise that serves no one when they are standing on two feet much less when their feet are in the air. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. As I exhaled, I imagined that garbage was draining out of my fingertips as the breath left my body. I could almost feel it dripping out. I wiggled my fingers and raised them over my head and then pulled strength right into my heart and prepared to let it melt into whatever happened.
I felt strong and excited and eager and ready to fly, so I didn’t wait long. After a few salutations, I found myself in Dolphin. I moved my hands a little bit and started to walk toward my hands. Something inside of me started to glow and I actually said, “tie to FLY!” and next thing I knew, I had floated right up. I know that sounds so cliché and lame, but honestly, it was like someone just grabbed a foot and pulled me up there.
It kind of freaked me out and I immediately came down. What the hell was that?
I checked in with myself. Did I pinch a nerve? Nope. Did I change the rotation or the gravitational pull of the earth? Nope. Did I lose my hair or my mind? Nope. So I gave it another go.
I actually felt my arms engage into their sockets. I felt my heart press and my spine lengthen and it was like someone stacked Legos on top of one another and pushed down – I was all connected. I stayed there for 9 breaths. *9 breaths.* IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM!
I called tiny yogi into the room and threw Hipstamatic at him and said, “I’m going to play! I’m going to pretend I’m a peacock, you pretend you’re a photographer, and we’ll both fly!” He started dancing around saying things like, “Work it! Show me powerful! Show me peaceful! Show me the money!” What can I say, that kid is something else! An amazing thing happened, though: I was having so much fun, I forgot that it was hard. When I forget things are work, they become play – and so I started messing with my legs and FLYING HIGH!
What do you need to release? What do you need to hold a little closer? What’s keeping you from flying? Think about it and then make some changes. I have to say, nothing feels so good!
Except maybe a glute massage from Simon Park. 😉