Being Cool Like Eartha Kitt

September 18th, 2017

change“Ok everyone. Let’s try mayurasana. You’re going to want to immediately lengthen your legs out straight. Most of you, though, will fall out of the pose if you do that. But if you exercise some humility and slowly move from having your legs pulled in to full peacock, you will be more successful. Just remember… ‘slowly’ can mean years.”

One of my yoga teachers was recently teaching a pose to me and my fellow students. The pose he was teaching is really cool looking. (I mean, doesn’t Eartha Kitt look pretty cool doing it? Though honestly Eartha Kitt looks cool doing anything.) Mayurasana (aka peacock pose) is one of those yoga poses that you’d want to do at a party to impress others. And being able to do it could make you feel pretty awesome too. But our teacher was suggesting that we practice patience and, more importantly humility, in trying to reach this pose. Sheer willpower just won’t cut it. Without humility, we will not learn the proper way to enter into it and will continue to mess the pose up. He was suggesting that we put our ego on hold. We are still good people, even if we can’t do this pose. Our yoga practice does not increase or decrease in value based on our ability to do this one asana.

To me, this is excellent advice to those of us doing emotional work as well. Many of us have things about ourselves that we’d like to change, be it a dependence on alcohol, a discomfort or intolerance of how our body looks, insecurities, depression, or overwhelming anxiety. These kinds of changes are difficult to make. They just don’t happen over night. We often get angry with ourselves when these issues arise, saying things that resemble  “Why can’t I just stop?!?” or “I hate this about me.” However, if we approach these parts of ourselves with humility, we will remember that these behaviors and mindsets arrived due to reasons beyond our control. And focusing on small, compassionate, and persistent changes will be more fruitful than those forced. Because if we force change, as when we force the peacock pose, we will more likely fail and then feel bad about ourselves. When we work diligently, often in therapy, focusing on incremental change, we can be more loving to ourselves, seeing our humanity. And just remember, I’m guessing that Ms. Kitt had to practice for awhile to hit that pose too!

If you’re looking for a therapist or counselor in Dupont Circle, Washington, contact Mike Giordano at 202-460-6384 or

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