Saying thank you (with slightly clenched teeth) for crow pose


If all I had to do was stand there for crow pose, I'd be quite content. Image download from

If all I had to do was stand there for crow pose, I’d be quite content.
Image download from

I am not what one might call adroit in any yoga pose other than shavasana, a.k.a. corpse pose, where the only requirement is to lie still on your back. I have finally come to look forward to downward dog, have reached an agreeable truce with chair pose, and do OK with balance poses like tree and airplane. Of course, I can say that unequivocally because I don’t have to watch myself stumble through these.

But the one pose we try in class that I cannot, simply cannot get any close to mastering is crow. If yoga instructors everywhere will pardon my saying, I do not like crow, not one little bit. I will channel my father here (who, by the way, could get into lotus pose as easily as he could make enchiladas), and phrase my thoughts like this: “Crow pose rubs me the wrong way.”

At this point, you might be asking, “If The Grateful Runner doesn’t like crow pose, why is she saying thank you for it?”

Fair question, which I will answer, as I tend to do, by backing into it. On Saturday, for the second Saturday in a row, class was almost over when my beloved instructor announced we were going to work on crow. The first week, I focused on arranging my blocks (to help steady myself) and blanket (to catch me when I would no doubt fall) and then on cheering for Chrissy Cortez-Mathis, an every-other-Tuesday instructor who made the pose look so easy. (So does my friend Karol, who wasn’t there on Saturday, but who I know practiced at home every night till she got it).

This past Saturday though, I just felt sort of paralyzed. And then — this is embarrassing to admit, but whatever — I felt like I was going to cry. The week hadn’t been the best (save for an evening with my sisters and my mom), and my immature and petty self thought (which I could demonstrate right now with melodramatic facial expressions and maybe make both of us laugh) “I CAN’T DO ANYTHING!”

But I breathed into my frustration, admiringly ogled aloud those who could do the pose, and settled onto my mat for Shavasana. After class, my dear yoga pal Cindy and I went to Starbucks, where she bought my coffee, shared her croissant and lifted my spirits.

The world has its share of anguish; it has plenty of sorrow. But crow pose? C’mon, Leslie. Not being able to do it ranks about 9,857 on that serious-life-issues list. And the good parts of this life I’m blessed to lead trump crow shortcomings over and over and over again.

That morning, lying on my mat; feeling the energy of everyone around me (which isn’t just yoga-speak; it really does happen); and, finally, walking into the sunshine after spending a where-did-that-hour-go? with Cindy, I felt lucky. And I felt grateful.

So for situations that make us doubt ourselves, and for the perspective they show us, and, yes, for crow pose, The Grateful Runner says thank you.

new crow


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