|Halasana - Plow Pose|
It starts with,
"“Are you kidding me lady! You want me to do that?”"
and ends with,
"They go back to their mats and they, indeed, do that. Because they can. I know they can. And after they strike that pose, they know they can too."
I often get the same "Are you kidding me?" looks when I introduce a pose that is new to the class. Some look slightly horrified, while others, still incredulous, are grinning and waiting to try it out for themselves.
As Pam mentions in her post, yoga builds confidence through steady, prolonged practice. Poses that at first seem impossible and perhaps very scary become more accessible. If you've attended Iyengar Yoga classes, you know that we (the teachers) help you to break down the elements of the poses so that over time, and with practice (practice is a huge factor!) they become more accessible -- there's a greater possibility of actually being able to do these difficult poses.
You first learn the basic elements, and you build on that knowledge and practice (again the "P" word) to advance to more difficult and complicated elements and poses. You see more and more success, which leads to more confidence in your yoga practice, whether in class or at home.
A pose that absolutely terrifies me (yep, there's at least one) is a variation of Adho Mukha Vrksasana (full arm balance / hand stand) with the hands pointing backward rather than forward. I joke that it induces in me Abhinivesa, or "fear of death". But I know how to go about being more comfortable with the idea of the pose. I know which incremental steps to take to get me closer to the pose. But it takes PRACTICE which I'm not doing for that pose variation at the moment. There are so many other poses that feel more important to me, so I need to pick my battles. If I ever decide that's a pose that I really, really want to do, I know which direction to travel in my practice. And I know that I'd feel a huge surge of confidence once I did it.
And as Pam said, this confidence starts to overflow into your regular life as well. You've learned how to make difficult actions less difficult in yoga, and the same principles apply to your daily lives.