Friday, 15 June 2012

Inverted

I'm back at yoga again after some dilly dallying around. Our class is really popular so you have to book a week in advance, but I finally made it both days this week.  The theme this week was inversions. This basically involves having your head lower than your hips, so well known yoga poses like downward dog are semi-inversions, handstands and headstands are full inversions.

Today, we focused on some exercises to increase the strength in our upper body and then we moved onto some poses.  We did Bakasana:

The extraordinary Mr. Iyengar
This is a balance on the hands, where you dig your knees into your elbows for balance and then rock forward until your feet lift off the ground.  Needless to say I had blocks and bricks in front of me, so that I could rest my forehead lightly onto them.  This allays the fear of tipping over too far and smooshing your face into the floor.

From this we moved onto a variation of this which involves balancing on the crown of your head, with your back upright and then balancing your knees on your elbows, like so:

This is not me.  This is this lady
http://my-yoga-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

Also not me.
So the thing about this pose, and indeed series of poses, is that I'm terrified of them. I'm scared of smooshing my face into the floor.  I'm scared about bending things that shouldn't be bent. I'm scared that I don't have enough muscle strength to get up there and back down again.  I'm scared of being in a very unnatural position. Then this brings up lots of other fears I have. This pose is as much about confidence in your mind as it is about strength in your body.  I've been working bit by bit to overcome that fear, not just in this particular case, but also in life in general. With a little help from my teacher, I managed to do this pose.  It was quite a brief stint up there, but I did it!  And that's the thing: the more I challenge the fears I have in this life, the more I build up my confidence to be able to look them directly in the face and see what it is I'm actually scared of.  I sit myself down and settle my mind and look inside and start to break it down, stripping away the layers so I can deeply understand what it is that I'm feeling and how I can live with that. Doing this pose was as much about challenging unnecessary, paralysing fear in my life as it was working my body. Today, I'm proud of my progress.

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