Frankly, I don’t like risky moves, in yoga or life. My heart pounds. My underarms get sticky. I rationalize, expounding on the benefits of the earthbound. Why?
It pays well.
It doesn’t take too much time.
That’s what I’ve been telling God when He calls me to live a fuller, riskier life.
It’s not in my DNA.
I’m too busy right now for this.
My Wednesday morning. I was all ready to invest 90 minutes to a sweaty, awareness-enhancing yoga session. I was told sessions like this are thoughtfully designed to encourage us to slow our practice and uncover bad habits. Understood. A poster hung on the boring wall with the quote ” “A slower practice brings a deeper level of awareness.” Okay.
Enters our instructor .“Guys, find a partner because we’re going to work on handstands. No walls !” He announces.
Let me make this clear, i hate handstands. I am scared of handstands. I haven’t done one since forever, never and here I am, in a room with forty people, doing handstands. My mind lists the things I need to do, check email, call home, eat something. My terrified ego whispers, “Pretend to use the bathroom.” But it’s too late.
My cousin Lupa, a strong, admirable teacher occupies the mat next to mine. She grabs my hands and exclaims “Yeah! I love these.” I consider slapping her with my sweaty towel.
The teacher uses Lupa for the demonstration. She balances on her hands, in the center of the room. Her core holds her steady. Sir presses his fingers on the soles of her feet highlighting the components of a beautiful handstand. My cousin puts herself upright with grace and purpose and beams at me, “Your turn.”
I attempt excuses, but Lupa is adamant. “I’ll be your wall. I won’t let you fall backwards.” So,there was Lupa and behind her the boring wall with the poster.
“I’m not strong enough,” i told her. No use. I started feeling claustrophobic. I wasn’t ready, and I told her that, but she wanted to help. I felt surrounded by limbs, the room was closing in, i wanted to kick her. Finally, i took a deep breath and went for it.
I did it. I remained on my hands for a half a minute, and then i came to a headstand, Lupa moves away, i saw the pale wall…and suddenly it felt extraordinary… this kicking up of the legs, hoping they stay heavenbound. Scary. Wobbly. Strange. In that inverted moment i glimpsed new capability. It wasn’t easy until today when I curled my backbone, fingers clasped, head planted on its crown, forearms strong, and started walking slow firm steps toward the wall that I believed it was possible. Each step forward laid down another length of spine to that solid wall, so I kicked high. I kicked through the fear. Kicked and believed that no matter what happened that wall of support was there for me.
I left the session understanding new things about my shoulders, hips handstands and headstands. Asanas reveal our fears, strength and inner resolve. You can fall into patterns and feel pain or you can master each moment with courage and allow inversions in your life; where hands become feet, the child becomes the teacher, and loved ones help you discover balance. They uncover hidden parts of ourselves, then shifts our life. It summons the lessons needed for transformation. We can resist, but the longer we take to see,the harder the lessons get.
The real test lies in bringing them off the mat, how well we succeed there…
I am ready!