I went to Annie’s 6pm Power class at The Yoga Shop last night where she pushed us to try things we’d never done before. (Think: side plank through chataranga to downdog, all while maintaining tree pose.) Definitely not the easiest feat; in fact, many of us laughed, moaned, and mumbled: ‘Are you kidding me?’ But Annie persisted: “Just try it! What’s the worst that can happen? You fail? So what?”
Once again, Annie helps me to understand the difference between “someone who teaches yoga” and “a yoga teacher.” As a yoga student, I’m discovering that an effective teacher is one who wraps yogic philosophy and coaching around each pose and presents it to you like a present. This yoga teacher hands you these gifts all throughout class and for each one, you realize you have two choices. You can say:
1. “No thanks, not for me. That’s just way too much work/too hard.”
2. “Why the hell not? It seems impossible, but what if I could get over my fear and just do it?”
When it came time to do Wheel Pose, something I’ve always feared (because of the chatter in my head: “My arms aren’t strong enough…What if I hit my head?…This will hurt my back,” etc.), instead of moving into Bridge Pose for a second time like I usually do, I looked to Annie and asked for her help.
She lifted me up into the first wheel, then helped me down. ‘Phew, that’s over,’ I thought. That’s when Annie shocked us by shouting: “Do it again!” and “Another!” and “One more!” Before I even knew what had hit me, I’d done five wheels back to back. I was exhausted but exhilarated by how it felt to have fear melt away.
Annie taught me last night that what we think we can’t do, we actually can. And we can do it over and over and over again.