iyengar quote image

How do you tumble and fall?

I was out running this past weekend.  Okay, it was really part walk/part run.  But I was running when I tripped on a lip at an intersection and went flying forward, landing pretty hard.  I took me a minute to assess what was what.  I seemed to be bleeding a lot from one of my knees and one hand, but was able to get to the side of the road and determine nothing was broken.  I was mostly stunned and feeling sorry for myself.  So I began walking home, when I bumped into a friend.

This friend was very sympathetic and said that she, too, had fallen while walking about a year ago.  At the time she said to herself, “If I were doing yoga I wouldn’t have fallen, I would have had better balance,” adding, “but here you are, doing all this yoga, and you fell!” (was she justifying not doing yoga? unclear!)  The encounter was brief and as I was in need of fresh water to clean up, I carried on toward home.

Throughout the day I reflected on the fall: pretty symmetrical, even distribution of weight, didn’t break anything; it could have been so much worse.  But thinking about the comment from my friend just made me realize how important yoga is on every level.  Maybe the practice has given me the strength and balance so that I didn’t fall worse than I did!  I am sure that is true.  But on a deeper level, maybe all the lessons from the practice will help me recover more quickly–because that is what the practice does–it allows you to right the ship and navigate to calmer waters more easily.

Is it the resilience that is required in balances? The strength built in warriors? The humor we employ when we fall out of a pose? The compassion we cultivate for ourselves and others? Or the lessons from the poses themselves: twists allowing us to be experiences opposites not unlike the joy and sorrow of life? backbends allowing us to become open-hearted yet with strong backbones, reminding us we can feel vulnerable yet be strong.  I could go on and on.

The point is….we all tumble and fall sometimes.  You might have an actual fall (which I sincerely hope that you do not!).  Or the tumbling might be more subtle, falling on an emotional or spiritual level.  We all have fallen this way.  Just remember a yoga practice will help you recover and get back on course, no matter the bumps and bruises you take along the way.

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