Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Just Do This..."

Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.  Martha Graham
"Just do this..." is one of my favorite things to say to the people in my class. It can be followed by any number of tricky moves that I just want them to give a shot. Just to see how it feels. 
On Wednesday nights I teach at a little personal training gym. I have the same people that come every week. It is at this gym that I started to love to teach beginners. There is something so amazing about watching people succeed. With adults it sometimes takes a little longer than with my girls. The kids have a lot less fear than adults to in trying something new. Looking silly and falling never seems to bother children to much. Their bodies haven't developed the patterns and tightness in certain places like those of us who have lived a few more years. I get delighted when I see a child succeed in something they didn't know they could do,  but  seeing a fifty year old woman do a new "trick" has a complete different sense of accomplishment.
One of my people who comes to my Wednesday night class is a woman about fifty or so. She is in great shape. She works out, she eats right but she has lived a life that has nothing to do with yoga for a long time. She has gone through some tough times. I watch her changing every week. I watch her become more confident in her movements. When she started she didn't know any of the poses by name, now the class can follow her. Every week I give them time to try a few poses that are a little scary or difficult. One is always tripod, which is the start of a headstand. Every week she is nervous, she doesn't want to stand on her head. She has made baby steps. One week she will pull one knee up on the back of her arm. One week maybe two. The next week she might not do any of that. She has the physical capability, the strength and the flexibility to do the whole shebang. She holds herself back with fear. 
Last night she did a headstand. Right in the middle of the room. It was a beautiful thing. I think she shocked herself. When she came down from it her cheeks were flushed, partly from turning upside down and letting the blood flow the other way but mostly from the excitement of not only doing this move but of over coming the fear of trying it. She looked up and said, "I did it. I've been afraid of it for so long." She had a huge smile on her face. It was really wonderful.
Rock on.


  1. nothing better than watching someone get empowered... go amy!!!

  2. So amazing!

    And this post reminds me of why I love doing improv so much (even though I whine sometimes!) It's all play!!

    I wonder if some of the games we do would fit in with what you do?

    Let's talk! Seriously. Over lunch, phone, email, whatever!

  3. Martha Graham is WRONG!

    it's not a thousand reasons. It's a million.