If you've been in class with me, you know that I do a very modified version of Standing Head to Knee pose. I stand with my leg locked, round my spine down, and reach for my foot. I'm not even close to clasping my hands and grabbing it from underneath. I just stand there with my gut sucked in and focus on keeping my knee locked and my body weight distributed all over my foot.
It's hard. And even though I work to keep a laser-like focus on my own body, I am aware that I'm often the only person in the room doing this modification. That's okay; I really don't care. I'm too busy imagining myself completely extended in the full posture. I follow the teacher's instructions in my mind and imagine doing exactly what s/he directs: extending the bent leg, stretching the Achilles tendon, lowering my head to my knee. Someday, if I keep working and imagining myself doing it, I'll get there. There is real power in vision.
Standing there and reaching down today with my gaze arrowed in on my knee's image in the mirror, I thought about different kinds of strength. My hip flexors aren't strong enough yet for me to lift my leg high enough to grab my foot. But this body has carried and birthed and nursed six children. That's strength for you. I can't raise my leg up very high yet in Standing Bow. But I wonder how many of the lithe, fit people around me could do the posture at all while wearing a 50-pound weighted vest. (I'm losing inches like crazy, but the pounds are coming off very slowly.) And fortunately, my vision, which is just another aspect of faith, is very strong. In class, I celebrate my strengths even as I look forward to becoming much stronger.
Another vision today: I generally like to move around the room from class to class. This is unusual, I think; most people I've come to recognize seem to like the same spot over and over again. Today, after three days of especially challenging classes, I decided to park my mat by the door. I've heard it's cooler there, and I felt like I needed an edge. Class ended up being great, but in final savasana, I got my reward. As people left the room, big swaths of cool air would blow in from outside. It was like lying on a hot beach with the sun beating down, and then having the most lovely, gentle waves rush up and over my body, again and again. I finally got up and left with the biggest smile on my face. Vision carried me through another class.