Yes it’s a yoga pose and it’s a yoga pose that I’ve always enjoyed. The ability to get into a strong warrior one pose and then bow my head deeply down towards the ground resonates with me. And it also gives me the opportunity to determine if I stink or not at that particular moment. The answer is usually yes, yes I do. But being a warrior of any kind, especially a humble one became near to impossible for me this past year. And what I learned is that it’s not the strong warrior poses that show your strength, it is actually the humble warrior pose, the one that brings you down to the ground, the one that makes you see that your strength is not defined by how firmly you stand up to everything around you but how you bow down with grace and surrender that really lets your strength shine through.
Many people have said to me that I’ve been strong through everything that’s gone on with my younger daughter. I bring this up because it was really the strength I drew from all those around me, all the events leading up to this one, and all the experiences previous that tested me by knocking me down and watching how I got back up again. It was the yoga, it was the running, it was the post partum depression, it was the heart condition, it was the psoriatic arthritis, it was being called whale or fatty over and over for years, it was the trial and error of raising two teenagers, it was every mistake I ever made in my whole life and every perfect choice. It was all of that and more. It was watching others around me faced with even greater challenges brush themselves off and stand tall and strong and put one foot in front of the other. It was not me who was inherently strong, it was the strength from everything and everyone in my life up to this point and for that I am eternally grateful.
In the middle of all the turmoil, I developed debilitating sciatica as a result of a disc protrusion that prevented me from going into the humble warrior pose. I was unable to bow my head to the ground and I had to instead extend my back and open my heart up to the world. This was a huge shift in my practice and in my way of thinking. Sometimes to be strong, we need to be especially vulnerable. Sometimes in order to know how good you feel you have to feel terrible. At the worst of it, I felt like a million piranhas were biting my lower back, my ass, and all down my leg. I was so weak, I didn’t have a reflex in my foot. I had to ask for help. I finally bowed my head down symbolically and surrendered, knowing that I could be an even stronger warrior if I just asked for a little help. Sure it took me several months but that’s besides the point.
With a lot of patience and time, the back has healed and today I was once again able to get into a humble warrior pose in my yoga class. It reminded me again that even in our strongest moments, we need to surrender, we need to bow down, we need to be vulnerable. Thank you to everyone in my life who has lifted me up this past year, you know who you are. Thank you to those who have shown me the meaning of the word strong, you are my heroes, whether you know it or not.
And thank you Athleta for making stink proof pants.