I had been noticing a lot of women riding their bikes around Basel in their mini skirts. They looked cool and sexy, which made me wonder if I could rock the look as well. Taking it as a sign that every two in five women I had seen biking was wearing a skirt, I finally decided to try it yesterday. I slipped on a jean skirt, paired it with a comfy t-shirt, and fetched my bike from the cellar.
Just throwing my leg over my racer was already a stretch, but still, I got on and pedaled off into town. A few minutes into my ride, my mini began to creep up a little higher than I was comfortable with. I looked down to see if my underwear was showing, but thankfully the front of the skirt wrapped against my bike seat snugly. Still, I felt constricted, uncomfortable, and distracted. I glanced down a few more times and noticed the threat of my underwear exposure was close. “Never mind, I’m in motion, anyway, so there’s no chance anyone can see up my skirt,” I consoled myself. Until of course the traffic light turned red.
“How on earth do they do it?” I asked myself, knocking my knees together and feeling more and more awkward with every pedal. That’s exactly same kind of puzzlement I feel when I see advanced yogis and yoginis effortlessly press up into a handstand, or lightly jump through from Downward Facing Dog to Staff Pose without their feet ever touching the ground. In an open level yoga class, we feel sometimes feel pressured to do the “full expression” of a pose, because other people are doing it. Sometimes, however, we’re simply not warm or open or ready enough. Because of that we end up feeling inadequate or frustrated, or worst case, we injure ourselves. All because we want to measure up to a standard that’s simply not available to us at that particular time. We end up asking ourselves, “Why can’t I do it?” The answer is this: I am not them, and they are not me. Their bodies are engineered differently, or they’re simply stronger and more experienced than I am. And that’s okay. I will need to practice extra hard, accept my limitations, or in the case of the mini-on-a-bike situation, go home and wear a different skirt.