The Ever Elusive Jump Back
I’m sure many of you have seen someone do a yoga jump back. Maybe it was the person practicing next to you during morning Mysore, possibly Kino McGregor in a YouTube video, or maybe your teacher demonstrated it once or twice during class. What was your first reaction when you saw the jump back?
My reaction went something like this… “Whaaaaaaaaaat the f*** was that?”
And then I proceeded to try it on my own, only to belly flop and realize that I could not even remotely lift myself off the ground, let alone move my body through my arms and land in a push up position. How did these yogis do it? Where did that strength come from? What on earth is really going on here? Was this some kind of sick joke? There’s gotta be a trick to it. So I started my quest to find out more about this equally amazing and magical yoga transition.
I watched online videos. I read books. I devoured written articles. I dissected this movement piece by piece. When you watch someone do a jump back, they often make it look effortless and graceful. Yet just about everyone quickly realizes that the jump back is the most difficult yoga transition. And when I say difficult, I mean DIFFICULT! This shit’s no joke. Don’t believe me? Right now, stop what you’re doing, get on your floor and try to do it…
Do you believe me now? I thought so.
I’m not going to give you a play by play on how to do a jump back; that’s not what this blog post is about. In all honesty, learning to do a jump back and the time it takes to accomplish it will be different for everyone. Some will get it quickly. Others will take years. Many will never do it at all. Besides, I am by no means an expert on the matter.
I am more writing this post to pay homage to the beauty and mystery of yoga practice. Anyone who practices with regularity will tell you that 99.9% of the time, yoga isn’t pretty. It’s hard. It’s sweaty. Sometimes it hurts. Emotions get stirred up, both good and bad. Yet there’s another side to it… The side of yoga that keeps us coming back again and again, the magic.
That moment, after years and years of practice, where something suddenly clicks. Something you never thought you’d be able to accomplish, you finally do. A posture you’ve labored through or a transition that was so far from reach becomes yours. For me, that was the jump back. For you, maybe it’s something else.
Whatever it is, there is only one way to make it happen. You practice, you practice, and you practice some more. What was impossible becomes possible. No tricks, no easy way out, only hard work. Doesn’t get much more magical than that!
As Guruji says "Practice and all is coming." -Sri K. Pattabhi Jois