Several years ago, I walked into my local recreation center for a summer morning yoga class and did not know that I would be introduced to flight. As our teacher instructed us into crow, I remember distinctly thinking: “yeah, right!?” She modeled for us, compacting into something similar to an extreme cat pose, weight over wrists, and then she lifted her feet off the ground. Again, “yeah, right?!” Everything in me knew that was impossible for me.
And now, crow is one of my favorite postures. The process of: seeing a variety of teachers break down the posture; being encouraged to take a risk because the fall wouldn’t be that far; building my core in other ways to prepare; learning to grip the mat desperately with my fingers eventually moved me from impossibility to joy. And I realize this is the trajectory of all learning. Through messy and playful—but deliberate—effort, we move from impossibility, through knowledge, through risk, through possibility, through accomplishment, to joy.
As I think about how to foster my students’ abilities to fly, I rest on this idea that what once was impossible to me is now a great joy. And so it can be for them too.