For as long as I can remember, I've had very specific ideas about exactly how much of life I can take on. Back in 1992, I defiantly told told my adoring grandparents that "alone time" was crucial for my well-being, and as a middle schooler I swore off sleepovers because I was positive spending an entire night giggling and playing "light as a feather, stiff as a board" was not my idea of fun.
Early adulthood has helped me break out of my "I'm not doing that" mentality in a little bit. I moved across the country after college, and that was brave. I found roommates on Craigslist, made friends everywhere I went and even worked as a telemarketer.
As open as I was on the outside, I was still closed off in less-noticeable ways. I often turned down invitations if they in any way interfered with my work or exercise schedules, but mainly I sold myself short when it came to my job. I was convinced that anything I could do someone else could do better, and no amount of praise could budge that mentality.
It wasn't something I spent time feeling bad about. I accepted it. It never occurred to me that there were different kinds of workers and different writing styles, so I willingly passed projects on to colleagues because I thought their work would be superior.
Now that you have a little back story on my history of saying no, you won't be surprised that I was not a fan of back bends in yoga. When I first started practicing I could barely make into a bridge or bow pose, but as time when on I became fully capable of them. I just didn't like them.
No one called me out on staying away from back bends, but through the amount of yoga I've been practicing in recent weeks I've started to find it odd that I'm afraid of a pose that's so easy for me to move into.
A psychologist probably would have had no problem putting two and two together, but it took me a little longer to come to a conclusion on my own. A back bend is the physical manifestation of opening up, otherwise known as my least favorite activity.
Even though my guides encourage me not to push or force anything in my yoga practice, I've been making a conscious effort to move into some kind of back bend at least once a class, even if it's just a low bridge.
I've only been backbending on a daily basis for a little while, so I'm still not exactly jumping into every situation with an enthusiastic "yes." But I do think my back bends have made me pause before saying no.
A friend invited me to a concert last week, for example. Instead of thinking of all the reasons I shouldn't go -- I would be out late, I was going to yoga that night and I didn't know the band -- I thought of the reasons I should accept. I hadn't seen that friend in a while and I could catch an earlier yoga class. Mostly importantly, I would probably have fun.
Even better, I've started taking on work projects with more confidence. Maybe one of my colleagues is better at digging up information, but I could be better at piecing it all together. Different doesn't always have to mean better or worse.
On that note, I think I might just attempt a full wheel today. Who knows what it will allow me to say yes to this week.
Until next time! Namaste.
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