Changing your perspective

Crow on the rowboat

Crow on the rowboat

The first time a yoga teacher suggested I press my hands on the floor and lift up into a handstand, I thought she was joking. Until all around me, the whole class was turning upside-down. Clearly I was in the wrong place.

After taking yoga classes for 20-some years, no-one had ever made this request of me. Thank goodness. Unlike my friends and even my sisters, I was not the preteen girl who did endless series of cartwheels along the lawn. I’ve been perfectly happy being upright, thank you very much.

So at 44, I couldn’t imagine that my yoga teacher couldn’t just accept this fact: I am just not an upside-down person. Plus, with each passing year, I feel a little more breakable.

Perhaps she, and other subsequent teachers, have seen this as a personal challenge: “Here’s a student who is full of resistance, let’s help her to be playful and light.”

Rather than welcoming their assistance holding onto my ankles and helping to hoist me up, instead I’ve felt trapped and frankly, afraid.

Which, as I’m slowly learning, is what’s holding me back: the fear of falling, the fear of failing.

It’s not that my arms aren’t strong enough to hold me, it’s that there’s a moment of faith that must happen as my feet lift and become airborne. It’s the faith that there’s a moment that I’m not in complete control, and it will be okay, even if I do fall.

And that’s the rub: being willing to fly with faith, being willing to let go.

What has brought me closer to physical levity, is a spectacular trick offer by a fellow teacher: use the wall.

Like the earth, it has a satisfying solidity, yet at the same time, it’s as vertical as I hope to someday become in my inversion practice.

Walking my feet securely up this safety net, I get the sensation of being upside-down, without the fear.

That’s where the emotion levity comes in, which is an ongoing practice of letting go of the serious things that weigh me down and offering instead a playfulness, a lightness of being.

Certainly I still am amazed at those those who can fly with seeming ease, but these wall-walking baby steps make it seem that someday I’ll send my toes to the sky without hesitation.

It might get messy along the way, it might not look pretty, but how satisfying it will be to shed the fear that’s been holding me back. And that’s what the practice of yoga teaches me, in baby steps, every day.

 

I’ll get the push I need this month, as Evolution Power Yoga has made June the month of Inversions, with many of the vinyasa classes focused on the practice of getting upside-down.

An Intro to Inversions class will be held June 1 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. for $25, taught by Nic Auwaerter and Meagin Krofcheck. A second “Get Your Feet In the Air!” class will be held June 15 from 1 to 3 p.m., also $25. Meagin’s June 29th 9 a.m. class will be a celebration of all the inversions learned throughout the month.

 

 

Leave a Reply