This morning in yoga practice I was able to do Tiryang Mukha Pada Paschima Tana (try saying that three times fast) for the first time without props. This asana was always particularly difficult for me because of my tight hamstrings and quads.
Six years ago when I started practicing Ashtanga I needed to use two blocks under the straight leg hip lifting me up about 10 inches to get into the posture. And forget about reaching my feet. I barely was able to lean forward and support myself with my hands by my knees.
Slowly, over the years, inch by inch I was able to lower myself down, until, this morning, my teacher said I could come directly into the posture with no props. I can reach my feet, so now all I need to work on is getting my "third eye" (aka forehead) to my knee.
I started practicing yoga six years ago because I was having severe back pain. The yoga really helped to alleviate that pain permanently. When I began, I would look at the other students twisting themselves into particularly difficult asanas. I thought I would never be able to get into many of the postures.
But six years later, lo and behold, I am getting into those postures. I can twist, bind, stand on my head and support my legs off the floor on my elbows.
The truth of the matter is that we often sell ourselves short when we look at exercise. We think we can "never" do something. But in actuality, we can. It may take time, it may take patience, but eventually you can do it.
Over the years, I've been frustrated when I see other students come in and get into postures in a matter of weeks, when it took me years to do them. But, that's just my body, I'm naturally pretty stiff. But I stuck with it, and although it took me four years to do it, I can now sit in lotus.