When 2012 became 2013, I made some physical goals for the upcoming year. 1: to do an armstand (via yoga) without assistance; 2: to lead The Guillotine (a climbing route at Echo Cliffs) without falling; 3: to alternate lead in multi-pitch trad climbing.
I’m pleased as pickles to report that I achieved all three goals as of July 2013!
I’m still working on stability and stamina in armstands, handstands and headstands, but I can hold myself up with no assistance for a stint. It feels so wonderful. The photo above is me doing a simple tripod headstand, one of the easier inversions on my path towards a stronger core and more challenging poses.
In July and again today, I led The Guillotine without resting on the rope. I felt giddy with accomplishment and delight after both successful leads. Here is a photo of me on the route last year, and a photo from today’s sunny journey to Echo Cliffs.
A few months ago I went to the ever-awesome Tahquitz, a wonderful multi-pitch trad climbing area. I successfully led a few pitches on our route. My friend and climbing partner that day, Casey, always has an encouraging, confidence-enducing way of suggesting that I try things in climbing that I’m initially hesitant about about. It fosters growth in me, and I appreciate that. Here is a photograph of Casey and Andrew atop Tahquitz earlier this year:
I truly believe that achieving all three of my physical goals was due in large part to my recent dedicated yoga practice.
Several months ago, I started practicing yoga every Friday at a class with an empowering and energetic teacher, Petra. I always left her classes feeling more grounded and centered, stronger in mind, spirit and body, and with more peacefulness in my being. Fridays were always good days.
A few months into that weekly practice, Petra invited me to a Swiss meetup (though I am not Swiss). At that event we got to chat beyond the yoga studio. Petra asked me about my passion. For her, it was yoga. For me, I didn’t have an answer. I don’t know if not having an answer was because of my tendency to be indecisive, or because of fears: fear of labeling myself with “just one thing”; fear of putting my eggs in one box and potentially failing at it; or maybe the fear of starting down a path and realizing it wasn’t a passion of mine after all, and having to start over. Fear.
Feeling, finding or defining “my passion” has been a continual struggle for me. I love doing lots of different things: art, photography and making things; nutrition, health and making food; fitness, yoga, hiking and climbing; helping people, teaching and empowering others; feeling like a successful freelance designer… But, what is “my passion”?
I believe that a person can have multiple passions and that those passions may change over time, as humans DO change over time. We grow, are introduced to new things, meet new people, feel differently from day to day. So answering the question “What is your passion?” doesn’t necessarily mean sealing yourself into only one box. It doesn’t mean that your answer needs to be final and absolute. Perhaps defining one’s passion can simply mean that right here, right now, this thing, whatever it may be, feels really good to do, and it feels good to pursue it. And if it changes some day, or not, just maybe that is okay.
So at the Swiss event, the seed was planted that perhaps yoga was something I wanted to pursue at a greater depth. I knew I felt so wonderful and centered after every class, why wouldn’t I want to feel that wonderful more often? Wouldn’t it be cool to have a greater understanding of yoga, from poses and alignment to the history and spiritual side of it? And, what about helping other people to feel that sense of empowerment and wellness through yoga? Did I want to teach yoga??
A few months ago I started a daily yoga practice at Namaste Highland Park. And a few weeks into practicing daily, I knew I had found a passion. I felt more mindful, more conscious in my day to day, more centered and balanced, lean and limber, empowered and with more confidence. I felt connected to something greater, and thereby more connected to myself. I felt excited about going to class every day. I felt excited about how both my body and mind grew as the compounding effect of daily practice set in. I felt bliss.
I started receiving positive feedback from teachers, friends, family. I felt positivity all around me. The Universe said yes.
And I say yes. Yes, yoga IS something I want to pursue. Yes, yoga IS a passion of mine.
Yes, Hollye. Yes, Universe. Let’s do this.