I Am a Tree
One of the balance asanas (poses) in yoga is called tree pose. Even if you don’t know much about yoga, you’ve probably seen tree pose. You stand on one foot and bring the other foot to the inside of your thigh. Your legs look like the number 4. Every yoga instructor I’ve ever practiced with makes tree pose look so easy. Trust me, it’s an illusion!
Last week I discovered that tree pose is about so much more than standing perfectly balanced.
Early one morning I entered into the new studio at my favorite YMCA. The studio is upstairs with lots of windows. Lots of natural light and a view into the tree tops.
About halfway through class we moved to balance poses. Kellie, one of my favorite instructors, verbally walked us into tree pose. I was feeling pretty proud. I was all balanced and serene. Yay me! Then she suggested that we bring our hands up over our heads and lift our gaze to the sky. Well, I was feeling all Miss Hot Stuff Yoga Queen so I confidently raised my arms and eyes. Again I found that I was stable and felt my itty bitty ego growing. Then she suggested that we place our palms together and slightly arch backward. I began to rock ever so slightly on my standing leg. I became more and more unstable until, whoop, my other foot automatically released to catch me from falling. I berated myself for letting my ego take over. Then I allowed myself to re-center and moved back into balance as I heard Kellie say, “It’s okay if you lose your balance. Actually, losing your balance is how you build and find your strength. If you fall out of the pose, simply take a breath and rejoin us when you’re ready.”
Though I’m sure I’ve heard some version of those words tens of times in previous yoga classes, I’ve really been thinking about them this time. Such profound wisdom in the simplicity of it. I’d hoped that by 41 I wouldn’t have any more gut wrenching, soul bearing, identity crisis, buckets of tears life decisions to make. I was wrong. My husband and I are in the middle of an impassioned battle for our marriage and we have a big decision to make. I’m talking change the trajectory of our lives decision. We are investing 3 hours a week and over a grand a month. We are vested.
I often wonder how I can get through this, how we can get through this. What if we hurt each other? What if we can’t find our common ground? What if we make a mistake?
I think God gave me the answer in the form of a yoga pose.
Sarah Joy, sometimes you will flow with grace and fluidity and nothing will shake you. Sometimes you will feel the ground shift beneath you. Sometimes you will fall. It’s part of the journey, sweet girl. Fall and breathe. Remember that you are getting stronger every time you do. Rest, and when you’re ready, rise back up. Remember that Randy will sometimes fall too. It doesn’t mean that he is failing you. It doesn’t mean he has given up. He will breathe and rise back up too. And there will be moments of beauty when you’re both in balance with your eyes lifted upward. And you will know God.