It’s a common response to being introduced to a new, exciting, scary or particularly bendy pose.
It is often said with nostalgia for what was once possible and even a certain resignation that limitations of age, stiffness or injury will keep us from ever doing it again.
It’s true that what we were once able to do might no longer, or at least not right now, be appropriate or useful for us.
The body is always changing. Physical constraints, lifestyle and so much more can keep us from being able to do what we did when we were 9 years old, 25 or even last week.
The quicker you can get past the regret, the sooner you will be able to move on to the point, which is to recognize, respect, engage with and learn from the reality of your body at this moment.
At these moments, the opportunity of practice is to let go of the old story of fear, frustration and defeat and transform it into one of empowerment and responsibility.
The yoga is in doing what is needed to embrace what ‘is’ with curiosity, openness and possibility. As the refrain goes, “free your mind and the rest will follow.”
After all, “I used to be able to do that” can also convey an enthusiasm to rediscover the playful freedom of moving the body like when we were young.