52 FEATS – NUMBER 40 (Breaking Through “Can’t”)

3 Oct

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

I learned something amazing recently – a true epiphany.

Last week, I was in a yoga class and the instructor called the pose Half Saddle.  I wasn’t familiar with it, so I waited for the directions: sit down with your legs straight out in front of you, bend one leg at the knee behind you, and lay backwards, all the way down.

Immediately, I thought to myself, “No way.  With my crappy knees?  Can’t do it.  Wouldn’t even dream of trying it.  I’ll just do a modification and get through it the best I can without tearing something.”

So I put my leg back and just sort of leaned backwards on my hands.  But then, somehow, something changed.  Instead of listening to my brain telling me “No, you can’t do this,” I listened to the instructor and his reminders about breathing.

I’ve been to lots of yoga classes, so I know the drill: just follow your breath.  When things get tough or you meet resistance, just come back to your breath and ride right through it.

So I did.  For once I just told my brain to shut up and get out of my way.

And boom, before you know it, I was completely in Half Saddle.  I was shocked and amazed with myself, and not in a bit of pain.

It’s like that scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban where Harry conjures his Patronus for the first time.  Remember that?  Because he had seen himself do it already, he knew that he could!  Well, of course that sort of gives you a headache to think about, but it certainly demonstrates the point.

To use another yoga analogy, a year or so ago I was finally able to do Crow pose, something that I thought looked completely, inhumanly impossible the first time I saw it.  And since then?  I can do Crow every time.  Every single time.  Why?  Because I know I can.  Before I even start it, I’ve already decided in my head that I can—and will—do it.  So it happens.

Sometimes we are capable of more than we realize, if we truly just believe it.  I think that applies to life in general, not just yoga.

So for this week, I’m going to try and identify all the things I automatically tell myself I can’t do…and just try them anyway.  I have nothing to lose, and who knows what I may be capable of, if I can just get out of my own way?

What are you telling yourself you CAN’T do?  Do you think maybe you CAN if you just get that negative voice out of your head?  As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”

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One Response to “52 FEATS – NUMBER 40 (Breaking Through “Can’t”)”

  1. Lori October 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    One word: brilliant! Thanks for the inspiration!

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