This weekend, I once again pulled on my leotard, put on some mascara, and got up on stage to do my 3-minute routine for the local yoga championship. And what do you know, I once again fell out of my favorite posture, the wonderful standing bow pulling pose.
And I really don't mind!
Last year, when this happened, it took me a couple of days to get over it, but this year I started laughing right away. Well, not right away - first I did the rest of my postures (without any problem) and got off the stage. Apparently this one posture just has stage fright. I can do it on a dime pretty much any time, any place. I can do it without warm-up, I can do it outside, I can do it for friends, I can even do it in a workshop with the international champions when everybody is watching me. But it pulls a vanishing act in competition - something about that big empty, quiet room just makes me loose my shit at precisely the wrong moment!
I got much closer this year, though. Last year I couldn't even get my leg up! This year I got my leg almost all the way up - I saw a video and it looked much better than it felt - but then I panicked and stopped kicking, so I fell out. If you lose the balance, you're not kicking hard enough! I am still pleased with my progress. By next year, I feel confident that I will be able to keep my nerve and do the posture in public!
I had a lot of fun preparing for the championships this year. I think I said in my last post, I took a very "come as you are" approach. My philosophy is that you have the whole year to work on your postures, so all you really need to do at the end is put together a routine and refine it a little bit.
I whined and moaned about competing up until about a week ago. Then I started running my routine and realized that it was in decent shape. I don't want to brag, but I did the routine flawlessly (meaning: my personal best) every time I showed it to somebody before the big day. So I decided to quit worrying about the postures and focus on the mental aspect instead. The whole thing is 100% mind over matter. It's actually very interesting to watch one of these events (although I didn't get to watch very much this year). Almost everybody who gets up to compete has amazing postures. So it really is a battle of nerves more than anything else. Who can keep their calm and do their practice under those stressful and intimidating conditions? That is the true yoga! It takes tremendous courage (or as Bikram would say, balls) to get up on stage at all.
Anyway, I prepared for this year's competition by meditating on my routine every day. I would just lay down for a while and visualize the whole thing. I included in this exercise: how do I want to breathe, what do I want to do with my body, and how do I want to feel while I do it. It was really fun! I've never really been "into" meditation before - I would usually either get distracted or fall asleep - but this week I just couldn't get enough of it. And even though I wasn't entirely successful on stage, I don't blame that on the technique. Next year I will prepare the same way, but I will start doing it sooner!
It's been nice to reconnect with all my friends in Baltimore this week. We're all going out one more time tonight for guacamole and margaritas, and then I'm heading back up to Providence tomorrow morning.
Also, my student Lauren competed for the first time this year and she won 3rd place! I am so proud. I had a feeling she was going to place - she nailed her routine and she totally deserved to win. Here is her frigging bow:
NOT ME NOT ME NOT ME
I know right?? I can't say I'm surprised that she did so well, since I am well aware of her talents, but I am very happy for her!
As always, even though I had to drag myself into it kicking and screaming, I'm thrilled that I went through this process. It's a different learning experience every time. You never get it wrong and you never get it done.*
Now I am relieved to return home, put all that crazy competition stuff behind me for a while, and focus on other things. These things will include: going out to dances and meet-ups, trying out the flying trapeze, more cooking and baking, less driving, more local exploring, and continuing to develop a super kick-ass yoga practice. Boo-yah.
Please no sympathy comments. I feel pretty good. :)
*For those who recognize that sentence from somewhere: you bet I have drank that Kool-Aid!!