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What a day – what a weekend.

Attending yet another yoga workshop, this one each day from 7:30am – 9:30am then again from 2:00pm- 6:00pm both Friday and Saturday (our weekend, here in Qatar).

By 4:00pm today, about half way through the afternoon I was pretty much done.  Had enough.  Taken it all in.  Spent energy, gained knowledge and experience.  Felt the friendship found within our yoga community. Laughed out loud more than a few times during the day from the humorous approach of the teacher leading the workshop.

Attempted my first backbend.

Yes, a real,… backbend. Upward bow or wheel pose, or Urdhva Dhanurasana.

Something like that doesn’t just happen.  There are steps along the way that lead you there.  And not always the ones you think.

You don’t need strength and flexibility in the back.  Strength in the arms, in the legs.

You need to work on opening your chest.  Opening the place between your hips and your ribcage.  Lifting your chest to the ceiling. For me, I needed to feel as though I could just play with it. Experience it. I needed to feel comfort and support from the friend beside me calmly asking “would you like to hold on to my ankles” as this can provide additional stability.

There is no point in the chasing of attainment.  We need to look at this moment.  In this day.  How does my body feel right now?

It was ready.  It felt safe. If felt comfortable.  It felt supported. It felt prepared and open and willing.

Part of what that allows you to open your chest, to open your shoulders, to open yourself to attempt a backbend (or pretty much any challenge in your life) is to shift your thinking into the possibility of it all. That what happened yesterday, or last year, or my last practise isn’t what’s necessarily going to happen right now.

What if THIS is the beginning?  What if this is the moment when all things come together which allows me to try?

As I started my ascent I knew I could do at least part of this pose.  We had just been taught that I could stop and rest on the top of my head and ‘just hang out there’ if that’s what I needed.  I could  play with that, if that’s what I felt what was required in this moment.

But with a little confidence, some readying of the body, those steady-as-a-rock -feet of  my fellow teacher trainee that I gripped strongly to help me with my foundation.

Inhale – lift my hips, lift my chest,  lift my collarbone up to the sky. Rest my head on the floor.

Exhale – relax a little.  Prepare again.

Inhale – push up, leading with my heart, my chest.   Expand, if only just for those few seconds and take another breath.  Maybe one more.

Release. Back down to the floor.

Something I’ve never done before. I’ve not ever tried before.

What if THIS is the beginning?

Throughout our days and our lives, we place limitations on ourselves.  This is the way it’s always been.  This is the way I am.  This is the way it’s always going to be.

Throughout our 6 hours of practice today, I wonder how many times it was that our teacher asked us to stop. Pause. Close our eyes.  Look inside.  Ask ourselves,

What if THIS is my beginning?

I learned a long time ago that my life didn’t have to be the way it started.  The way it was. The way it seemed to be going.  It could change.  I could change. Today was a good reminder of that.

It can change at any moment.  Each and every moment can be our new beginning.

(with much gratitude to today’s teacher Julie Martin, of Brahmani Yoga)