The excitement was in the air. Kids young and teenagers, colorful, happy and bundle of energy were rushing from all directions to the venue. So infectious What’s the environment that I forgot all my Inhibitions temporarily and ran to the venue along with everyone else. Competition had already started. I stopped by the door side and watch those kids bend over their bodies as if they didn’t have any bones. I was mesmerized at the sight and scared that I have to compete with these talented ones against home I don’t stand a chance. A yoga teacher realized my predicament and told me that the competition is in age wise categories. it was a temporary relief. he gave me a spot in the upper balcony to watch to practice to get ready. As I moved up to the balcony, I realized that will be a good 2 hours of time before my age category competition started. So I started myself in the balcony and watched. half an hour later are you good appeared almost out of nowhere 100 me a list of does yogasanas which I had to perform on the stage. I looked at the list first one tick off I could do that easily… second one tick off… easy peasy, 3rd one tick off 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th tick off, 10th boom… no way I had never done this 1I could not do it even though I tried earlier it was shirshasana, the one in which you stand up on your head, upside down.
I looked up enter my guru with utmost honesty I told him, ” I cant do the 10th one I had never done it. my hands were not strong enough to take the weight of my body. You are the judge, change this asana.
No it cant be changed, its Already been decided. He replied unemotional and factual.
I can’t do it , I pleaded
My guru with his ever smiling face, his white flowing beard, Looked into my eyes with a deep gaze and he said you can do it! The simplicity in the depth of that statement left me puzzled a part of me believed that if he believed I can do it then I can. But another part of me knew that I can’t. Now confused and unsure, I was scrambling for words, I can’t…. is all I could say his gaze hadn’t wavered even for a second. With that same smile he said again you can do it. Before I could protest, he rushed off.
I looked at my hands holding the list, looked at the stage, the judges and the audience below and I shivered. I knew that I would make a fool of myself today. If I tried and failed, not able to get up on my head or worse falling after going , people would laugh those young kids of 8 – 10 years who did this asana with such ease would make a mockery of me. Should I run away now ? Should I hide somewhere but I had to back to Bangalore with them. Both of those options were ruled out. I did not want to make a mockery of myself so not performing the asking on the stage was out of question.. And that left me with one option the only option to perform it.
All I could tell myself was I still have 2 hours let me try and then I will decide when it is time to go to stage. I I positioned myself against the wall and started throwing my legs up to find the balance. Half an hour later I was sweating I checked my hands my biceps my triceps they hadn’t developed any further to give me the strength to hold my weight and forget finding the balance, I had no orientation off direction when I threw my legs up in the air. I still had time so I kept trying but nothing happened.
I noticed that the place next to me which was empty was now occupied another guy a little short in height but muscular. He too was a participant was evident from the tag number he had on his shorts. He had laid his mat and he started doing Shirsasana… the very asana which i was struggling with. I watched him in Awe , the ease with which he was doing it. I was observing him, I forgot everything else and just kept looking at him doing the asana. In one of that moments, I saw him move and it flashed that this asana is about the movement of the lower back part of the body and it’s not about the strength of the arms. With his back to the wall, He was kneeling down with his Fingers interlocked behind his head for support, elbows we’re on the floor, he moved his lower back towards the wall and Legs automatically moved closer to the body a little more movement of the lower back and the legs lifted off the ground. My mind fired up….. With the focus on the lower back finding the balance my legs were up in the air was Easier than focusing on the legs. Hands on the floor would support weight and the balance both. All of these observations and thoughts occurred in the flick of moment. Time in my mind had moved very very slowly for me but the seconds hand on the watch had move one or two counts.
It was my Eureka moment and thankfully I had my shorts on and there was no bathtub, it wasn’t Rome and there was no Golden crown to motivate.
I watched a couple of times more. Suddenly he got up folded his yoga mat, looked at me, turned to look at his guru or father standing on the opposite side. both of them again turned to look at me and then left.
Not wanting to waste even a minute with that secret in my grasp, I got into the position and started practicing. 2 or 3 twice later I could move my legs up and hold my self for a few seconds as I wasn’t disoriented like before. Even though I was wavering, I was standing on my head. My focus had turned inward on the certain moment of my lower back and how that moment was affecting the position of my leg and my balance. Few more tries and I knew that I would people can perform it on the stage. Though it won’t be perfect, it was good., And far better than not doing it at all. A few more tries in the night decided that it would be better to consume energies for the performance. I sat down and relaxed until my age category was announced.
There were only 5 people on my category. I moved near the stage to occupy the participant’s slot. And guess what the person standing ahead of me, my competitor was the same guy who had performed Shirsasana in the balcony next to me. and then it occurred to me that he had come there next to me to intimidate me after having seen my struggle with Shirsasana, probably on direction of his guru. Now I felt intimidated. he was strong and slick in his performance. I could do all the other asanas better than him as I was lean and more flexible but Shirshasana was the clincher and he did it better.
When my competitor’s name was called and he performed well as expected. It was my turn, the last participant of the category.
I started performing as the asana’s name was announced. We were to perform the asana and stay in it until the gong was struck and its sweet sound meant we could unroll and become normal!! And finally, the announcement was of Shirshasana. I took my position, kneeling down on my head with the interlocked fingers behind my head. From the corner of my eye, I saw the movement and a sarcastic smile of my competitor’s face. I knew that this moment needed me to focus inward, focus on my Posture, balance and my lower back and its movement more than anything else. My eyes were open but I wasn’t looking anywhere. I moved lower back region slowly the slanted legs were moving closer to the body and then my foot began rising up in the air as the lower back was moving slowly in the direction of interlocked fingers. I did it very slowly because I wanted to ensure the balance was steady…. the effect was that my legs raised in a slow motion. Suddenly there was total silence in the hall. Most of the time while practicing Shirshasna, people lift their legs up in one swift movement, none of the participants had done a slow rise of the legs… I was now in upright position. My mind was on my back, aligned in line with spine, slight forward tilt. My legs though were wavering back and forth, slightly which mean that I wasn’t stable and I could fall on either side. A hall filled with more than 500 kids and teenagers were pin drop silent. Everyone else also thought of the same… they watched the minor leg movement …. expecting a fall any moment on the stage …..I watched the change in my lower back position as the legs swayed further in any direction, i moved the lower back in opposite direction, bring the legs back to upright position, to avoid falling..
It became a cat and mouse game judges and audience waiting to see if I would fall and I was countering it, waiting for them to strike the dong. For most of the participant judges struck the dong within 10-15 seconds, after all they had so many performers to evaluate across various age categories After a good one full minute of wait and watch one of the judges realized that I was not going down under. He signaled the dong operator. The sweet sound of dong struck my ears, I started to lower my legs and this time it was even more slowly than the uplifting of the legs. Everyone watched with a hush, they were not expecting a slow motion descent of legs. Other participant across categories , lowered the legs in one swift, motion. In a full minute of standing upside down, blood had rushed into my head and eyes, I felt the pressure for the first time. I had landed and re-positioned myself into vajrasana to let the blood flow down. My head was throbbing with excess blood and my ears registered an unmistakable sound of claps going round. After a few seconds, I got up, bowed to the judges and audience and stepped down from the stage to see two very straight faces of my competitor and his father or maybe his guru. I lowered my head, looked at the floor as I walked past them.
My thoughts were, if you hadn’t come to intimidate me, I would be a laughing stock, a loser today…Now a part of me was laughing at them. Another part of was thankful to them tough I never openly said it. As I walked past the judges the ever-smiling face, the same deep gaze with a hint of appreciation was looking at me. I smiled in gratitude and another part of me was thinking what a situation he had put me into. Thank God, it ended well. The duality of my thoughts never dies on me.
Then came the announcement of winners… I had won second place and my competitor was the winner. I went up on the stage to receive my medal, the claps were louder than before, my guru who was also one of the judges was standing and clapping….. Looking at him, I knew, I had won. I had won his faith and he had won me over with his unwavering faith of “you can do it”. With an experience of “I can do it.” I had won over my limiting belief and stage fear. Audience had won a performance they didn’t expect and my competitor had won the place in the competition he wanted to. And I too had won by learning from him, I was silver medalist of Karnataka State.
Many a times I have been pushed to the edge and whenever I have chosen to “I can Do it!!”, impossible situations have been won over… and I have forgotten to choose it, problems have become bigger problems. I wrote about this incident after reading and thinking about Aashman Trivedi’s post of This Simple Trick Will Keep You Motivated Every Day. You must read this simple and impactful post, then , come back to read as the essence of this post will make sense after you have read Aashman’s .
After reading his post, I became aware of the role Panic Monster had played that day. Come to think of it, I had the Monkey fear of weak arms and not possible attitude but then a Panic Monster of Losing my face, being a laughing stock got better of me. There is no doubt that without the guru’s grace, I know I would have chosen the flight response, with his grace I didn’t even had to fight. The Panic Monster’s presence ensured that attempt because the cost of being a laughing stock would have tragic impression on my entire life; that was a huge cost, I wasn’t willing to pay and i had nowhere to run. .
Like what Aashman Trivedi said, there has to be a self-imposed cost of failing, huge cost. Like, I will pay $10000, if don’t do this by that time to someone, say Vejay Mehta. Just kidding!! Here is the test that comes along with the trick, staying true to yourself! if you have created the panic monster the first time and you fail, then do make that payment or whatever it is you committed to do if you failed. The pain/loss will cause a true honest analysis of what went wrong and how to change it…and staying true to your word will immediately give you strength, peace and depth to surmount the shortcoming at the same time it enhances value of words that you ever utter to yourself or others, you would know it and world will see that. The next time, you will think, prepare better about what it is you need to do to make sure that you get better of the panic monster, you will know what it takes and the necessary to start winningwill start happening.
Staying true to your resolve of
If don’t get this done by that time, I will Pay/ Do that…
The key is that this that… has to be big huge impactful…… monstrous, otherwise trick doesn’t work!! Don’t start small, don’t give yourself a chocolate, and it will build the next happily successful person.
Under the Panic Monster series, i will share about the times in the past when the panic monster was huge and that’s what made the things work. But it was never self imposed Monster.
So, Like Aashman suggested, I am putting this trick to practice on something important, I will share about it in a couple of days. It better work, Aashman or I’m coming for you 😉.
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