Pinkie Toe Possible

I was practicing yoga the other day and glanced down at my feet.

My pinkie toes were spread away from my fourth toes.

How did this happen?

Now let me explain. One of the basic moves in Forrest Yoga; one of those phrases you’ll hear me say again and again is “active toes.”

The first time I went to a Forrest yoga workshop, I noticed that all the assistants always had their toes spread out to where they almost looked like fingers. I looked at them and down at my feet. Other than my big toe, I wasn’t able to get much in the way of space between any of my toes. Especially not my pinkie toe. “That is impossible”, I thought. Well, at least for me. I continued to lift and spread my toes, or at least tried to, but just assumed that this was just one of those things that I couldn’t do.

So imagine my amazement when one day I’m looking down at my feet and suddenly it occurs to me that the impossible has occurred.

There is indeed space between my fourth toe and my pinkie toe (and my other toes at that).

It got me thinking: if this seemingly impossible feat, however insignificant it might seem, is in fact possible, how many other things might be doable that I’ve written off into the dustbin of unachievable? How many things have I given up on or stopped putting effort into or avoided trying altogether because I’ve written myself off as hopeless?

More and more I’m finding that yoga is often the one arena in which I don’t doubt immediately that I can do something. When I see a difficult pose, I don’t think to myself, “Oh, I can never do that.” Instead it’s, “I wonder how much of that pose I can do?” I wonder when I can do that.

Just like my toes, my thoughts are in need of some re-patterning. When the immediate, “I-can’t-that’s-impossible-maybe-other-people-better-than-me-can-do-that-but-not-me, blah blah” comes up, insert: I wonder when I can do that.

As with most yoga realizations, the hard part is taking the insight off the mat into all other parts of your life. But I don’t think it’s impossible that I will ever be able to stop this default self-doubt. I don’t think it’s something I can’t do. I only wonder when.

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