This is written by guest blogger/yogini Jamie Gentry. Our friendship blossomed through our love of English Bulldogs and yoga. Jamie is a thoughtful and compassionate friend.
Camel pose makes me want to vomit from my toes.
Yes. You read that right.
I detest camel pose. No ifs, ands, or butts about it. When an instructor even mentions it, my yoga practice goes from:
“This is great, you’re awesome, I feel wonderful, I don’t want this to end,”
And this is why.
I hold all of my tension, stress, worries, insecurities, etc. etc. etc. in that space between my shoulders/neck/heart. It’s a vulnerable area. I assume I’m no anomaly here and that others do this too. It is therefore only logical that the camel makes me uncomfortable—it exposes these parts in such a way that it makes me feel light-headed and uncomfortable, as if all of these little troubles are escaping from their restricted environment all at once—and, as I have discovered, I often find it difficult to let go of my little worries. As I bend backwards, grappling for my heels to try to find some comfort, I clench these tensions tighter, holding on for whatever reason, to the things that make me most uncomfortable—friend woes, relationship troubles, work stress, external pressures. It’s a problem. I know it’s a problem. It’s also an ever-evolving lesson in seeking balance.
When I first began to adopt yoga as an integral part of a healthy way of living (rather than the mechanism for controlling waist-to-oreo-consumption ratio during college), I was in the midst of a major transition period in my life. I was nearly finished with my Master’s degree (perhaps the most intense experience of my short life, thus far), I was searching for a job, I was reeling from the sudden and painful end of a relationship, and I was scrambling to find myself. Camel pose wasn’t even an option at this point in time. Vomit would have lined the mats of my neighbors around me.
As my practice advanced and I learned how to seek out balance, both on the mat and off, the little knots in my life started to knead themselves out, and I noticed that little by little, I was able to drop my head back and reach for my heels. Not comfortably, but without any projectile spewing.
Today, that urge to hurl has lessened to a tingling annoyance at my throat. I am slowly learning how to find balance in my life, and, more importantly, I am learning how to simply let go of the things that cause me harm. It’s apparent in all aspects of my life, but especially in my yoga practice, and especially in my camel pose. If and when the day ever comes that I can gracefully lean back without feeling any sort of pull, I will be a happy lady. Because then I will know I’ve truly found some sort of balance.
So maybe I should modify what I said earlier.
Camel pose used to make me want to vomit from my toes. But now, it merely makes me want to sneeze.