I was elated. I’d just held the Kakasana for 5 seconds without falling.
There are a bunch of things going on during Kakasana: Core strength, Arm strength, Balance, and Breathing.
I find it a ton of fun to practice and that feeling of “flying” – even if just for a few seconds – is magical.
Needless to say, it took a fair bit of practice. Of waking up early and showing up for the Yoga class.
Of putting my faith in the teacher and pushing myself, when she would push us just a bit harder during each practice session. Then showing up again the next day with sore muscles.
I repeated that cycle for 8-10 months. And then one day, the Kakasana happened.
I’d arrived. I’d cracked the Kakasana after all. No joke, right?
Thankfully, before I got too lost in my self-reverie, something happened: My Yoga teacher posted a video of a fellow Yoga student practicing her Suryanamaskar.
It was a before-and-after presentation that showed her progress over the last 4 months.
It would be an understatement to say that she found it difficult to move.
Earlier, she needed the support of a table to bend forward. Today, she’s able to do that on her own.
Earlier, she could not lift and move her legs beyond a few steps. Today, she’s able to kneel down on one leg.
Earlier, she could not rise up without support. Today she’s able to do that on her own.
Fast forward, a few days later..our teacher posted not one, but two videos of another fellow student.
The first video of her holding the Kakasana with ease. And the second video of her doing an independent quarter-shirsasan.
The clincher: She’s a new student. And had barely completed 2 weeks of practice with us.
In case you forgot, to put things in perspective, I’d been struggling for 10 months to post a video of my own (somewhat shaky) Kakasan.
Let’s say all 3 of us were in a race in adjacent lanes at a stadium. And you were in the audience, sitting in the stands and watching us.
The new student would have won hands down, with me and the other student lagging behind.
Then you put on your pair of superpower vision glasses to see the world through each of our eyes.
The struggles, the hard work, the challenges, the pain, the successes, the failures – that each of us went through to get to where we are today – all of that is instantly visible to you.
And then it makes sense. We’re not racing against each other. Each of us is competing with ourselves. To create better versions of ourselves. To grow.
And that makes all 3 of us winners. Because we showed up consistently in spite of the odds.
At first, I was feeling great that I’d finally “cracked” the Kakasana. I was finally achieving my fitness goals.
Now, I’m thankful. For having more empathy and a stronger connection with my fellow students.
I’m learning that Yoga is not about competition. It’s about community, belongingness and growing together.