So, turns out,  I am NOT a Ninja. Shit. Guess I will just remove that from my vision board right now cuz’ not even a “yet” can save that dream.

Puzzled? Let me explain.

I love yoga so much and have found its impact on my life so very profound that I went through assistant training so that I could give back to my community by helping others grow their practice. I will explain more about this later, because it’s a.m.a.z.i.n.g but the short story is – twice a week for an hour each I go to my yoga studio and work as an assistant. The people rock, the studio rocks, the experience rocks, and I um, feel like I rock when I leave.

As part of our work as assistants we have quarterly meetings where we get to try new assists and poses together. Last week’s meeting was awesome; super awesome. While trying out what we call “juicy assists,” we climbed on top of each other in plank pose and downward dog (check these two links out, and no, that’s not me in the pictures). Then practiced a really badass move called a dropback where we take a person from mountain pose into wheel/upward bow (check out this link or the pictures at the bottom of this post).

So, as the universe would have it, I got to use this exercise to practice letting go, literally and figuratively. To do a dropback requires 100% commitment to release both physically and emotionally. Any tension or resistance and you’re screwed- you’re gonna eat some serious shit- head first.

I was ready, I was game. I was… totally prepared to spend some quality time with the floor.  I stood there facing my partner, a tiny little hand towel behind my back to support me and with complete faith in my partner and in myself, I dropped my full weight backwards and landed in wheel. Then I lifted back up. Then I dropped again. Then lifted. And… repeat, several times. HOLY SHIT INCREDIBLE. As in almost indescribably cool. I cannot wait to try this again. Actually, I can’t wait to make, I mean, um, help, all my friends do it too. Even the ones who don’t do yoga. . .

Anyway, fast forward two days. My sister, who owns a pilates studio, has a degree in dance and is more flexible than Gumby, and I had put the kids to bed and were talking a hundred miles an hour about all the fantastic ways we can twist and open our bodies up in various poses and how much we just absolutely, positively love helping people grow and improve their health. I guarantee we sounded like an ad for Forever Thirty-Nine (you know, that store that sells wine and yoga pants? Don’t even try to play it off like you haven’t seen that someecard).

All this talk of course lead to us doing the poses – in her living room. We’re talking handstands, headstands, half pigeons, running man, crow, chaturanga, the whole nine yards, er, um, asanas.  And then, AND THEN, we decided to do the partner assists. Still, in the living room. Never mind that her husband was trying, quite nicely at first, to suggest we go elsewhere – like maybe her studio and not, um, in front of the football game he was trying to watch.

We ignored him, smiled politely and then proceeded to work our way through a series of moves that we felt made us look like superheroes.  Grrrr. I am Warrior Princess Ninja, see me bend. The photo evidence, however, suggests that we looked more like teenage girls doing gymnastics, badly and in pajamas. But hey, who’s judging. . .

Somewhere around the alternate version of a dropback (because why learn just one when you could learn two?), her husband stood up, looked at us, shook his head, turned off the t.v., grabbed his laptop and while leaving the room stated “Hey, I know it’s a bit of a shock, but you girls are NOT NINJAS.”

Wait, whaaaaaattttt? We’re not? And all this time here I was thinking I should really invest in a good shinobi shozoko. Hmmm. Guess I’ll save my money for something else. Like… sushi maybe.

After we stopped laughing, we apologized for our shortsightedness and total disregard of the fact that he maybe did not appreciate our use of shared space for our yoga prowess. We sat down with a good glass of wine and got into a stellar philosophical dialogue about being a catalyst for growth, the practice of mindfulness and a whole host of other topics that made us feel like our college degrees might actually hold some tangible value, at least as demonstrated by our recovered expansive vocabulary. Then, like all best friends do, we laughed at ourselves. A lot. We also called each other ninjas for the rest of the night. Obviously I mean, it was a given, forced choice really.

And so the lesson was twofold. One- letting go is FUN. Super fun, share the love, grow in spirit and strength, spread the happy kind of fun. This leads to number two- letting go with a partner in crime is even better. Sharing the experience intensifies the growth, broadens the perspective, increases the joy, and makes the journey that much more worthwhile.

So here’s to letting go. And if you’re looking for a sidekick,just ask the universe. I promise it will provide.

Kristin Olsondropback2

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