Sometimes life gives us lessons when we least expect it. Yesterday I was trying out a new yoga studio while visiting friends out of town. While practicing crow I advanced into headstand, mainly to give myself a little challenge since it was a Monday and I haven't been on my mat a lot with recent travel. After class, an exceptionally fit looking woman (who I later learned was a kickboxing teacher) asked me incredulously, "How did you learn to do a headstand??"
I was surprised someone with a physique like hers would ever ask me for advice, but answered her earnestly - "with a lot of practice!" I explained to her that after years of doing crow one day a teacher encouraged the class to try headstand. It was something I never imagined I could do, but once I tried I was surprised how easily it came to me, and with enough practice I felt confident to do it near others. Now it's simply a part of my practice the same as triangle or upward facing dog. She seemed impressed, so I went on to let her know, "That's not to say I'm comfortable with all inversions..."
I do love arm balances and am always excited to try new things, I have practiced a lot of handstands, and while I can't stick them well enough to pose in public for a vacation photo (someday!) I am very controlled and comfortable kicking up and usually even get a little hang time. I certainly don't practice them often enough - generally only when it's cued in class or occasionally when I have a few free moments in a studio alone. But there's one inversion that has remained my nemesis. Forearm balance has never been on my radar. Except for a few workshops where (because the teacher made me) I gave it the old college try and basically walked away no more able than when I came. It wasn't for lack of trying on the teachers' part, it was a mental block I had set up for myself: "I just can't do this."
I never felt defeated about it, I was more just resigned to the idea that "everything is not for everybody" and was perfectly content believing forearm balance (or feathered peacock pose, if you wish) was simply not something I needed in my life. But upon further inspection I realized for some reason there's been a fear there- despite my rather adventurous, risk prone nature, as a person who has sky, SCUBA (and stage) dived, I was afraid to go all in on this one pose.
So what, you may wonder, was the inspiration for me to give up these blocks and dive head first (literally) into my worst yoga fear? The realization that I would have never learned crow to headstand if I let fear prevent me from practicing it. After I left class yesterday, I was thinking about this woman, who was absolutely ripped and no question in better shape than me, who had asked me how to do a pose that to me was child's play. And the only reason it is "child's play" today is because I worked at it - with no fear. I decided that it's absolutely unacceptable for me to tell a person "All you have to do is keep at it" regarding one pose when I'm afraid to even try another.
When I rolled out my mat this morning I was determined to see what I could get out of this pose. Granted, I should have warmed up with some sun salutations and maybe even prepped with some dolphin planks, but never being one to really prep anything in life I went right in. I set up my phone to video my first attempt and gave it a few kicks on either leg before launching myself all the way over. I went and watched the video and realized my arms were set too far apart, and went back and tried again. This approach, twice - practice, critique, try again - led to my *almost* nailing it on the 3rd trip to my mat.
Inversions can be exhausting, so I gave myself a break and decided to share what I had learned. Not just the "almost nailed it" video (go me!) but the overall lesson. Here I am, 11 years into my yoga journey, and probably 5 years after my first inversion workshop and today is the day I have decided to hell with fear, I'm going to do this. It may take me weeks, or even years to actually land this pose - but that's a lot sooner than never!
I made a decision today to add forearm balance to my ever updating list of "goals for 2017" - who needs a new year or even a new week to set new goals? So what it's a random Wednesday? It's never too late to start!
#noposeleftbehind #scorpionsomeday #practicemakesbetter
See video here: http://bit.ly/2obuCmS