“Just keep leaning into the pose and trust your body,” my Bikram yoga instructor Dell announced to the class. She then modeled Natarajasana (or “dancer’s pose” as it’s popularly called).
As her leg lifted gracefully high above her head like she’d been doing it her whole life, my leg barely wanted to move. I felt awkward. And stuck. And sore. Ouch.
“Continue to kick into your hand harder, and don’t be afraid to fall forward. The only way you’ll know what you’re capable of is when you trust yourself enough to surpass your limits.”
Her words hung there in the thick, hot air as I pushed myself to dive deeper into the posture.
While it didn’t sound fun, neither did staying where I was.
So I gave it a shot and kicked into my left hand a little harder. I rose up higher and driving my heart forward. Until I was actually falling… and falling FAST! In a split second, I caught my balance with my hands sprawled in front of my body and one leg still in the air. Definitely not an Olympic landing, but it worked!
As I rose, a slow, knowing smile spread across my face, and I saw Dell smiling back like a proud momma Yogi. Pulling myself back up into the posture, I found that I could now hold my balance better and even go deeper than before. Because I had pushed myself past my limits, my body had learned what it was capable of. I could begin exploring what else was out there.
Like learning to “fall forward,” our lives require some BOLD ACTION to propel us forward. They may even catch us off balance as we tumble over, head and heart aligned. Yet, I’ve found that we all too often let our own fears, vulnerabilities, and insecurities prevent us from even standing tall enough. We don’t get into the right posture – let alone have the chance to fall forward.
What’s holding you back from falling forward?
Maybe it’s a nagging fear or a sabotaging belief that you’ve internalized that keeps you stuck where you are. Or even not knowing what you’d do if you realized how successful you could possibly be if you tried. Sound familiar?
In a room heated to 110 degrees, I learned something. In order to truly know what you’re able to do, sometimes you have to fall forward.
It’s not graceful, and can even hurt a little. But it allows you to stretch, grow, and challenge your limitations as you create new capabilities.
Try pushing a little harder into those spots that need more attention and see what releases and is created in its place.
Maybe it’s starting to write that book you keep talking about. Maybe it’s contacting that potential client that’s been on your mind.
Begin to strengthen your own professional muscles by accepting that falling forward is part of the beautiful journey of living and learning that you’re on.
Oh, and remember to breathe!