The Smallest Accomplishments Can Have the Biggest Payoff

I had one of those moments where I JUST GOT IT.

It was a breakthrough moment: after a class full of arms and shoulders and core, the feeling of FLOATING, the feeling of getting my hips over my shoulders and FLOATING to the front of my mat with BOTH legs finally happened. It likely wasn’t noticeable to anyone else, or even the human eye. It was a feeling.

I laughed, loudly, a weird breathy cackle almost. Jessica, who was teaching, asked, “Has LJ broken?” My  moment came near the end of a sweaty, 50-minute sequence that involved LOTS of opportunities for handstand kicks. Again, again, again. Three more on each side. Again, again, again. Three more on the other side. …and repeat. We finally ended the sequence and I got a chance to play on the wall. That’s when the real laughter started, of course when most of the class is in half pigeon, winding down.

I did a bhakti kick—knees and feet together with down-dog arms—in an attempt to get a little more “hang time” at the top. I did another one. I did another one. (Jenn Grymes has been telling me for months that I could actually do one of these. I think I was channeling her today.)

Finally, I felt my hips go over my shoulders! My legs flailed awkwardly at the top, dangling almost, as I came down softly on one leg. Grounded, I laughed loudly, breaking the silence of the class.

Words can’t quite describe the feeling of working on something—for me, likely two years!—and finally GETTING it. Did I kick into a handstand with both legs? Yes, but only maybe once, and I know it wasn’t very pretty. What felt so GOOD and like such an accomplishment was knowing that I have worked on this for months, years. The improvements have been INCREMENTAL. Hell, it wasn’t until this summer likely that I had the courage to kick with one leg into a handstand.

While the timeline is fuzzy (and really, irrelevant), at some point I started working on handstands every day. Every morning. Every day after class. They became lighter and lighter, my core, shoulders and legs became stronger, my movements more fluid. My progress was SLOW.

But slowly, steadily, and surely, I did indeed progress. Not because I’m naturally gifted and acrobatic—I still to this day have NEVER done a cartwheel—or because I’m super flexy. No. I “got it” because I set aside time every day to practice. Again. And again. And again. And again. And now that I can somewhat-almost-not-really do it? I’m going to make it better. And practice. More. Every day. Again. And again. And again… until it’s good. Or I realize that standing still for 10 minutes in one position is way harder than any silly inversion. Then I’ll work on that.

That FEELING… of weightlessness and floating (literally and figuratively) and accomplishment because of dedication and commitment  came out, for me, in a GIANT grin and a laugh. Regardless of the challenge, the goal or the desired outcome, that laugh, that representation of achievement for me, is priceless. 

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One thought on “The Smallest Accomplishments Can Have the Biggest Payoff

  1. Congrats! I know what you mean – and weirdly enough, as soon as I “get it”, I can’t even understand what has been so difficult in the first place, and most of the times I realise that this, well, shift in perception opens up a whole bunch of other postures I’ve been struggling with, a totally unexpected side effect! 🙂

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