The Nemesis Posture

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You know what I’m talking about right? That one posture that gets the best of you every time.  It’s the one you like the least, avoid at all costs at first, and causes you the most angst within the confines of your yoga class. It’s a different posture for everyone and if you practice long enough it can suddenly become a posture you used to be friends with, the one you loved the most, until it became a much different relationship.

Nemesis by definition means:  something that a person cannot conquer or achieve; an opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.  Sounds like the perfect description for that one posture that seems impossible, that has you question how anyone can actually do that with their body?

And so many times we hear our instructors say to us after one of these grueling and impossible postures, “It’s the postures we hate the most, that we need the most, “ or, “ The postures that you have to struggle for day after day, in the end will mean the most to you.”

It sounds like a bunch of rubbish, as you lay in Savasana trying to control your breath, your heart beat pounding through your ears, and sweat trickling from…well, everywheredoesn’t it?

The teacher is not saying this to make you roll your eyes in frustration, but because they have been there. For eight years I battled my nemesis posture. It was a posture that once completed for the day, the rest of the class seemed bearable. For years, it was like high noon in a western film when that posture came around in class. I would boldly stare at myself in the mirror, fighting against the posture, telling myself I can conquer this, I can overcome this, I can make this happen. It was a fight, a battle, an all out war.

The one thing I didn’t consider, is that if it is a war, or a fight, somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. So, about year four into my practice I decided to just be okay with whatever happened during that posture. I called a truce with my nemesis posture, deciding to shake hands instead of continuing to battle on. If I fell out of it I would take a quick glance at the students in the class that could go so much farther than me and quietly say to myself, “Someday.”

And then it happened about two years ago.  The posture that I had regarded as an enemy, a mountain I still had yet to climb, became my ally and friend in healing up all of the issues in my hips and left leg.  I started actually looking forward to this posture because there were visible differences happening as I worked on it day after day.  When I think of this posture I now have nothing but endearing thoughts towards it because I had worked so hard and for so long to achieve it.

Still today it could be better. I have work yet to do, as I do on all of my postures.  But it was all worth it in the end. That posture has taught me the most about myself, my body, my strength, my determination and focus, as well as, patience with myself and others. I wouldn’t give away a single step of my journey with that posture now that I look back on it. Because in the end I needed it the most.

Originally posted to viewsfromthepodium.com on January 28, 2014

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