The first day back, my yoga instructor teaches a jump from downdog to forward fold (Adho Mukha Svanasana to Uttanasana). When I land, I am shocked because I realize that I paused at the top of jump and floated down to the forward fold. I had never held that hover and have never been able to control my body's drop down to the forward fold. Assuming it was an aberration, the next time around I watch as my body goes through the motion again. And again, I pause at the apex of the transition and my feet slowly float to the ground. Before my injury, I had been working consistently on handstands and also on the transition from handstand to crow which require much of the same muscular control. While I can hold a handstand, I have trouble maintaining it for long periods of time and I have never been able to control the handstand to crow. Suddenly, and with no real progression to it, I have discovered the float. Excited at my success that I did not know was in me, I am given the opportunity to practice the float 2 more times. Two more times, I succeed. Then, the teacher steps the intensity up a notch by offering a downdog to crow option. Excited and nervous, I try it. I fall. But, I control the jump! I try again, and I stick it!!! I try again, and I stick it again! I feel both amazed and baffled. How did I do it? I try one more time, attempting to understand what is happening in my body, but the only thing I really understand is that a transition that has eluded me for a long time now feels almost effortless.
Feeling both elated and confused I sit back and analyze. I practice consistently and I enjoy working on harder poses. Most poses progress slowly but with consistent practice, they evolve and eventually I succeed. For some reason, after taking a very long break, this transition that has always been a challenge, suddenly becomes one of the tools in my toolkit. What changed? I took a break. Yes, hard work and perseverance is the key. But, sometimes, what we need most is to step away and do nothing. Not work on a different pose, not try a different activity. But, do nothing. Sometimes, we need to stay strong and stay focused and sometimes it is better to be soft and watch the clouds drift by overhead.