Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tummy Time and the Art of Trying Too Hard

Tummy Time - Pay no attention to those watermarks!

When I put my little one down on her stomach for tummy time she almost immediately begins grunting, groaning, and grimacing in frustration. On particularly frustrating days these grunts turn into fits of rage. She's four months old and she wants to crawl, roll over, and grab the toys in front of her RIGHT NOW! I, of course, would like her to just enjoy babyhood for as long as possible. I scoop her up and tell her to hold her horses, that she'll get there when it's time.

It's as if she thinks that trying harder will somehow get her to where she's trying to go faster, but in reality the harder she tries the more upset she gets and the less likely she is to make much progress.... sound familiar?

This is how most of us are when we unroll our mats. Though we might not outwardly erupt into a temper tantrum, we all have moments when we're impatient with ourselves to the point of frustration. I will admit to having an inner tantrum on more than one occasion when I couldn't achieve an asana when I thought I should. Who among us hasn't put that strap around our feet in an attempt to forward ford and pulled it just a little bit too vigorously thinking it might help get our foreheads to our shins? And, seriously, how many times do I have to practice it before I actually start to like that damn Revolved Triangle Pose?

Anyway, watching my wee one struggle in this way makes me wonder if striving is a learned behavior or something we're born with. I suppose it's possible that she just got the impatient, try-too-hard gene (like mother, like daughter?), but my guess is that we're all struggling with it on some level--even though we all know it really doesn't help us achieve our goals any faster.

So help me out here. Which poses do you find yourself trying way too hard in? Do you think you were born trying too hard? Or is it something you've learned by growing up in this culture where everyone tells you to work longer, harder hours?