I Can't Cross My Legs

There are two really cool things I’ve learned about yoga in the past six weeks.

The first is that there’s no such thing as “the right way” to complete a pose. Just because your downward dog doesn’t look just like everybody else’s downward dog doesn’t mean your downward dog is wrong. Every body is different and some bodies do things that some bodies don’t. And that’s ok. 

The second thing I’ve learned is that a lot of things that seem very far off or even impossible are just a thought away. We convince ourselves that we can’t. Your brain is a lot more powerful than you think and unfortunately it’s not always on your side. Here’s what I mean.

I have incredibly short legs. I mean, like VERY short for a man my size. I’m 6’2” and have a 30” inseam. For perspective, my wife is 5’2” and has a 28” inseam. I’m all torso. Which is amazing for so many yoga moves. My ability to reach the floor, my toes, etc. makes me look a lot more flexible than I really am. And it’s all about how we look, right…? And that’s all really great but…remember those short legs?

There are a whole bunch of yoga poses that I’ve straight up convinced myself that I can’t do. For example, sitting cross-legged and placing one leg on top of the other is impossible. When I was a kid I learned that you can only fold a piece paper eight times before it becomes impossible to fold it further. My legs are a lot like paper that’s been folded eight times. (Note: if you folded a piece of paper 103 times it would be the same thickness as the known universe… food for thought).

It’s very easy when one of these poses presents itself to just say, “that’s impossible, I give up” and we do that all the time. We do it in yoga, at work, parenting, running, eating, sleeping and so on…forever. So a few days ago in class, when Kimberly asked me to cross my legs and then put one leg over top of the other and that she would come around if we had any questions or needed help, I raised my hand. When she came over I told her that it was impossible and that I couldn’t do it at all. 

So she told me to straighten my underneath leg straight out in front of me and cross my top leg over my thigh, still laying it flat. And then she said, “yeah…you’re there. That’s the move.” From impossible to happening in roughly 6 seconds. 

The solution to most of our “impossibilities” is this;

  1. Try.
  2. Ask for help.
  3. Be ok with not being perfect.

And, as always, breathe.