I'm on my fourth year of practicing yoga regularly, but I still haven't mastered a handstand. (Truth is, I haven't even tried yet.) But my friend Zelinda, who owns the studio I frequent, became determined to mindfully attempt a handstand a day for one year, and yesterday was day 365. She chronicled the entire journey on the studio's Instagram page, and if you check it out and scroll back to this time last year, you'll see how much she improved over the course of a year. You'll also probably be entertained by all of the places she attempted her handstands (grocery store, fire station, splash pad, etc.) One gets the feeling that on some days she just remembered she needed to try one, stopped what she was doing, and did it.
One of the many things I love about The Yoga Room is their tag line: Yoga for Every Body. You won't find any competition here, no pushing you beyond your current limits, no expectations at all. What you will find is encouragement -- and lots of it. Zelinda's philosophy is that yoga should be accessible to everyone, regardless of body shape, athletic ability, age, or disability (she even has classes for cancer survivors and people with neuromuscular diseases like MS or ALS.) And if you start with accepting where people are, you can encourage them to possibly go a little further. Her handstand-a-day experiment is living proof that someone who "can't" eventually "can," if they'll keep at it.
Last week we set out to capture day 364 and 365 at some prominent Round Rock landmarks. We spent some time at the Dell Diamond, the AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. It had just rained but she brought towels and blotted off places for her hands.
Next we attempted a feat we'd been talking about tackling for the last couple of years: doing a shoot at the "Round Rock" (the landmark that gave the city its name.) When we arrived, Zelinda and I stood on the bridge and began formulating a plan. She said she could wade in from the side and climb on the rock, while I stood on the bridge and shot pictures. As we were talking, both of us noticed something moving in the water:
Her face fell. (I was shuddering, but I knew I wasn't going to have to get in the water.) We stood there trying to think of a different approach. She walked around the side to see if there was another way.
She really wanted to do this, and I could tell she was trying to talk herself into swimming with the snakes. I finally said, "Look, Academy is only 10 minutes from here. What if we got a little blow-up boat? We could attach a rope to it and I could let you float to the rock and then pull the boat back out for the shoot. Then when we're done, I'll send it back for you." She thought a minute and said, "Why not?" So we hopped in her car and went to Academy, where a very nice man named Ed helped us blow up Zelinda's new boat (we didn't have all day to use our lungs.)
Once it was inflated, we threw it in the back of her SUV and tried again. Here she is just before we lowered her in the water.
Our plan worked, which means she didn't capsize and there was no fraternizing with snakes. Even after all of that, her focus was razor sharp.
Here she is, about to make the 30-foot journey back. Where there's a will, there's a way! Thanks Zelinda, for not giving up, and for being willing to roll with my crazy plan!