There is a pose in yoga called Camel, and it is my Everest. It’s not a very physically demanding pose, in that you’re not twisted up or stretched out like a rubber band, but it has it’s challenges. Give this a try: Get on the floor and come to standing on your knees. Place your hands on your hiney, as if you were sliding them into the back pockets of your jeans. Press your hips forward and, if you can, reach down behind you and grab your heels. Let your head fall back. Congratulations, you’re now in Camel pose. For some reason, in the heat and humidity of a Bikram classroom, I do not do that pose. I could do it right now, no problem. But in the Bikram sequence of poses, sweaty and exhausted, I have had such trouble with Camel. There is something about opening the front of my body, turning my head upside down, and pressing forward through my hips that makes me nauseous and anxious, and I almost always back out of it.
A couple of weeks ago in class I thought, “Forget it! This is not going to kill me. I’m just going to go for it.” And wouldn’t you know that as soon as I got past the initial discomfort of getting into the pose, I was right there in it! In Camel! After I let go of what I thought Camel would do to me and committed to the pose, I was fine. Not only was I fine, I was pretty stinking pleased with my body.
So, the connections here are pretty obvious. Let me tell you where it’s manifesting in my life. Because if you really practice yoga, you’ll find the things you learn on your mat directly reflect the things you’re going through in the rest of your life. I’m in a place right now in my job, my finances, and my relationships where I feel a bit out of control. There are so many unknowns, as there often are for everyone, and I’m finding myself backing out of places of discomfort when I don’t know what lies on the other side. I have high hopes, but I don’t know what the other side looks like so I just stay in the safety zone. After my breakthrough with Camel, I decided to trust myself a little more. I’m also deciding to trust God a little more. He made my body, my body can handle Camel, so maybe He can handle these other things.
Letting go is a terrifying thing. Trusting yourself and trusting God when the outcome is unclear? Incredibly uncomfortable. But also incredibly liberating. In that moment when I decided that Camel would not kill me and I could trust my body, I was no longer afraid. It was uncomfortable for a moment, but then I felt so strong and free in the pose. Life is the same. Getting past moments of difficulty is uncomfortable. But strength and freedom wait on the other side. You may not know what the details look like, and that can be scary, but no matter what you will find strength. You will find freedom. You will find growth. You will find that you can trust yourself and trust the God who made you.
It’s a decision every single day. This growth doesn’t just happen, you have to choose it. You have to enter it with intention and the expectation that no matter what happens, you will be okay. So, give it a try. Follow your gut. Do something scary. Trust yourself. You’re stronger than you seem.
Grace and Peace