Humility, or Landing on Your Head in Practice

What’s worse than a Monday after daylight savings time?


Eka Pada Bakasana A

It’s a Monday after daylight savings time, after landing on your head while trying to tic toc over.

This was the second time landing, or rather, crashing on my head in yoga practice. The first time (which I also recounted in a very early post) was when I was trying to drop back.

From drop backs to tic tocs. The practice grows and keeps you on your toes. Unfortunately today it did not keep off my head.

I think I sustained a mild concussion — I felt foggy for the rest of the day, with dilated pupils, somewhat nauseous and exhausted, and had to end work early. I thought I would take a short nap and wound up asleep for almost two hours. If I didn’t feel better after work, I’d go see my doctor.

Luckily I felt better after the nap. I still functioned, still managed to put my kids to bed. Still writing…although things may seem a bit disjointed.

I’m not sure why I didn’t land right after ticking over. The “tic” is the easy part for me, it is the toc that always gives me trouble. Today my mind wandered a bit and maybe that’s why I didn’t land right. I usually try to control the descent and land as lightly as I can on my feet, close to my head. But today my feet slipped and my head hit the floor. Luckily I still held most of my body weight in my arms and so the impact was not as hard (and potentially damaging) as it could have been.

There is a slight bump on the right side of my head. It doesn’t hurt any more, but my ego is hurt enough where I wondered if I could go to practice tomorrow. Or even surf if the waves were bigger. The jury is still out on the surf. I will have to see how I feel tomorrow…but at least if I fall in water, the impact will not be as great.

I can blame it on daylight savings time, as I’m older now and these changes affect my mind and body a great deal. I think I hit the snooze button nine times today, and that was even after going to bed early. Or I can blame it on receiving a new pose today — Eka Pada Bakasana A, which is harder than Galavasana. At least in Galavasana, you can use the leverage of your back foot in the crook of your arm. Still, Galavasana took all of my strength and I struggled in it for months and months…NINE months, I think. It’s a fairly long time to simmer in a pose. I have a feeling that I’ll be simmering in this one for a longer while yet.

Ashtanga yoga really seems to get exponentially harder. Just when you feel like you’ve got it down, there’s another curve ball of a pose to surprise you. It has been a year and a half, and I’m just a third of the way through Third. I don’t know if I will advance past Third and really it doesn’t matter so much now. To be honest, I can’t even begin to imagine going past the pose I’m in right now. My mantra these days is, “Just let me get through this one. Surrender to God.”

It’s a bit funny, actually, how things have changed in my mind. When I started Ashtanga, I was the typical driven, Type-A Ashtangi, always looking ahead, wanting to progress further. But ever since the journey into Third, I’ve stopped caring so much about how long it’s taking me or how I’m progressing further. I think that it is simply due to the fact that I have no energy left. It is so hard, I can’t even imagine advancing..because advancing means that the next pose is that much harder. It’s been a good lesson in humility. Second Series brought out a lot of anger and it also taught me how to manage these feelings as they came up. Now it is not so much anger, but learning how little I really know still…about the body, my own body, my limits, and my mind. Third has been a big lesson in being humble…

But…if it is making me a kinder, gentler person, then I’m going in the right direction.

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