by Brittany Clarke
I was 21, just home from college when I decided I wanted to find a yoga studio in the area to start going to. I had taken a few yoga classes on and off since high school. A few at NYSC and a few at a studio by my college. I had just gotten a job at a hotel and finally had the money to take classes on a consistent basis. That’s how I found Yoga Haven. I don’t remember the first time walking into the Tuckahoe studio or the first class I took there, but I do remember the first class I tried crow pose.
So a little more of a background about me. Right out of college I had a bit of a competitive side, I was a serious runner and spent a lot of time in the gym. During college I had been a competitor in a Tae Kwon Do club and had even joined the rugby team. The tougher the sport, the better! During my childhood I had spent long car rides singing “anything you can do I can do better” with my grandmother and I believed physically I was always up for a challenge. That’s probably why I ended up in a Level 2 class as someone who was truly only a level 1 yogi.
For the most part I was keeping up through class and was loving it. It was a physically demanding class and from my previous yoga experience I knew all the poses that the instructor was throwing our way, that is until she said “crow pose”. I remember going, “crow pose? What’s that?” And looking around the room at all these people lifting up into the pose.
🎶Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you.🎶
“I can do that!” I thought. And so I placed my knees to the back of my arms and lifted my feet. Well big shock... I couldn’t. And down I came with a crash into the wood floors of Studio B. A little confused as to what just happened I looked up just in time to see the instructor walk up to me, place her hand on my shoulder and gently say, “Don’t do that again.” Yeah like I was going to. My ego took enough of a hit for one day.
I went through the rest of class without my focus. My mind solely on crow pose. In my mind everyone could do the pose but me. Everyone made it look so easy! I decided I must investigate further. So home I went armed with a mission to accomplish crow. I did what any self respecting yogi would do, I googled it! And I tried it again. And I face-planted again.
This went on for a solid month. One face plant after another and silently giving thanks for not losing a tooth. Also during this time I found myself in more classes my speed.... aka mixed levels, because let’s be real, I wasn’t about level 1 regardless of the fact that that’s where I belonged.
Then one sunny morning it happened, I found my balance in crow pose. My feet lifted and I felt weightless. If you’ve ever done an arm balance you know that feeling. You feel like you’re flying. I felt like I could be there for hours... until I thought to myself “HOLY SH*T IM DOING IT!!!!”
Cue the face plant!
First lesson in arm balances, when you lose your focus you also lose balance. It didn’t matter though, if I could do it once, I could do it again. And soon enough I was floating in and out of bakasana.
Crow pose taught me a lot of lessons along the way.
1. Never give up trying and working towards your goals.
2. Balance is a finicky thing. Stay focused and chances are, balance will stay.
And 3. Floors aren’t as hard as you think.
But the greatest lesson I learned from crow and really from yoga, was letting go of my ego. These days I’m way less competitive, I enjoy going to classes of all levels just for the experience and to feel myself be in the present. I don’t look at other people’s mats anymore but instead practice with my eyes closed a majority of the time. Crow pose taught me to let go of expectations and instead have a little faith in leaning forward into the unknown. That’s where your flight happens.
Level 1 Vinyasa: Wednesdays, 11:30 am in Tuckahoe
Kids & Teen Yoga: Fridays, 4:15 & 5:30 pm in Tuckahoe