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Things Being Klutzy Have Taught Me About Yoga and Life

July 11, 2011

I tend to fall a lot. And bump into things. My day is not complete until I find a new, unknown bruise in the shower. Sometimes, though, the elements are aligned and I land in just the perfect way. Just this week, actually, my husband tickled me, I went down, and somehow ended upright on the couch with my feet on the floor. Goodness knows my luck sometimes. All this klutziness and sometimes-luck has, amazingly, helped and strengthened my yoga practice – and my life. Here are just some of the ways how.

1. You can’t fight it if you’re going down. When I am about to fall, the worst thing I can do is freak out, wriggle around, and try to stop it. I just end up landing harder and well, that hurts. If I let myself go, through, and focus on the landing instead of the fall, I usually end up okay. I may not be unbruised but I’m unbroken. In yoga, I work on my balance, and focus on the same when I start to fall out of a pose. If I don’t focus on the fall, I can gently place my leg back down in standing position, avoiding injury and embarrassment. When I have a consequence I need to accept, it’s best to just take the fall and try to be graceful coming out of it. The more at ease you are with the bad that comes in life, the better out of it you’ll come – I promise.

2. Always stay flexible. Another way to say this is “go with the flow.” I’ve gone to job interviews with unzipped flies, started classes with sprained ankles, and changed in numerous public places due to spills, tears, and general mismatching. The more flexible I am in these types of situations, the more successful I am. In yoga, I use this to help me modify poses. I can’t always do a full expression of a pose and I can’t force it – so I stay flexible and do what works for me. Eventually, I will get to a place where I can do King Pigeon. But that time is not now and that’s okay. Flexibility is, I think, one of life’s greatest attributes.

3. Be fearless. I could easily let my klutziness keep me inside all day but – screw that! I walk the city streets, I run outside (people, pick up your garbage cans!), I skip (in public even) – I do almost anything. I try almost everything in yoga, too. In class, teachers often modify “up.” While it helps that I know how to modify poses “down” for myself if necessary, I always, always try the hard poses. I don’t always get there or sometimes I can’t hold it, but I’m not going to let falling on my head stop me from trying (oh yeah, I’ve fallen on my head). The more I try the farther I go in my practice, and the farther I go in life. I’m not the riskiest person but I try not to let my fear overtake me. I try to take chances in life.

4. Be mindful. A lot of my klutz-related injuries come from distractions. My mind has a tendency to ramble and sometimes my body just can’t keep up! The more mindful I am in the moment, though, the less likely I am to injure myself (at least seriously). I’ve found that the more mindful I am in my yoga practice, the more I can accomplish safely. Recently I’ve been trying to be very deliberate in my movements. This takes patience, sometimes – deliberate often means slower – but it always gives me better results. I think this is something that can be applied pretty broadly to life, too. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the ramblings of our thoughts. The more mindful we are of our actions and consequences, the better people we can be.

(from Paso Dance Studio)

5. Laughter cures all. I’ve been klutzy on more than one occasion in front of people for whom I’d rather be graceful. Instead of closing up or getting mad at myself, I laugh. And honestly? Running into walls IS funny, we can thank Charlie Chapin for that. It eases the tension that I created and makes the moment a passing one instead of one that ruins the situation. I laugh a lot in yoga, too. I fall in and out of poses, I do the wrong poses sometimes, and I’ve even kicked people or been kicked. The easiest thing to do is just laugh it off and try again. The more I laugh, the more I see just how powerful that action and sound can be. Laughing epitomizes staying positive. We all know how important that can be. So the next time I run into a wall or fall out of tree or face a difficult situation? I’m going to laugh first, again, and I hope to hear some people laugh with me before moving on.

6. Just breathe through it. You know when you stub a toe and you inhale sharply? I try to exhale deeply right after that, and amazingly, a lot of the pain goes with my breath. Breathing is integral to yoga and you can breathe through anything. I don’t mean pain in that you’re forcing your body to do something it shouldn’t; I mean that uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re doing your 100th sun salutation, or by the fifth minute of holding Warrior 3 – breathe through that. And you’d be amazed what you can get through! I apply this philosophy more and more in my life as I face challenges. Recently I had a very frustrating meeting at work and I was, honestly, amazed that I kept my cool. But I did it through my breath! Every time I felt that feeling in my chest I took a breath in, and I took a breath out. It truly is as simple as that. And hey, if you can breathe through that awful, though short-lived feeling of a stubbed toe, you can breathe through anything, right?


6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2011 8:09 am

    Haha Love this post Sarah. I always have new bruises and I never remember where the come from. I walk into tables, desks and crash my shoulder when I walk through doors. Oh yes, and I usually spill something or another during the day. 🙂

  2. July 12, 2011 9:55 am

    Haha! Yes!! It’s not something you hear about too often but it’s nice to bond over klutziness 🙂

  3. July 12, 2011 4:52 pm

    Hehehe Yes it it 🙂

  4. franzi permalink
    July 14, 2011 3:54 am

    dearest sarah, I can,t tell you how much I see myself in this post. I am to a involuntary head banger and bruise myself. I too take a deep breath more and more when in stress. I love myself and my laughing about me because so often people will just join in 🙂 Life is great and unexpected that way. With all the planning I do I can still experience the unknown. Thank you sweets <3!

  5. July 14, 2011 1:35 pm

    Ooh Franzi thank so much for that line, “With all the planning I do I can still experience the unknown.” I’m such a planner and I’m still learning how to do this 🙂 ❤

  6. July 14, 2011 1:50 pm

    I love planning too! Sometimes to much but thats just me 🙂 I know though that even planning it all leaves room 🙂 I try to always embrace it with some deep breaths 😀

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