Inversions, or going upside down, are key postures in the physical practice of yoga. Headstand, shoulder stand, handstand....going upside down where your heart is higher than your head has known physical benefits to the endocrine, immune, and lymphatic systems.
That's good stuff.
In a recent yoga class at Tranquil Space, the fear I have with inversions hit me full force.
I'm afraid I'm going to fall over. I'm afraid I'm not strong enough. I'm afraid I can't do them "right." I have the strength. I have the balance. I'm just afraid.
In this recent yoga class, I was in a wide leg forward fold. This is a pose that sets the invitation to go into a tripod headstand.
I consistently avoid that invitation from the teacher like the plague: "for those of you who can do tripod headstand, this is a time to get into that pose." I instantly retreat into myself, reluctance raises its ugly head, and I just stay in my wide leg forward fold telling myself that I'm fine just where I am.
True---I am fine where I am.
And I'm fearful of going into tripod.
So there I was, in the forward fold, and the invitation was set again---time for tripod for those who want that challenge!
I heard these words in my head: "I'm fed up with fear." Well, look who I started paying attention to in yoga---GOD.
Within seconds I started to create obstacles to avoid tripod. My blocks are in the way. My water bottle is in the way. I'm too far away from the wall. I'll need to move my mat to protect my head. [Insert other bullshit that takes on the form of an object].
Funny. All those things can be moved out of the way....so.....I moved them out of the way.
And up I went.
Fear stayed with me as I went upside down and I pushed all the #()$*#)( aside and stayed in headstand.
A few postures later tears came down my face. Not surprisingly. We had been doing a lot of hip openings in the class and hips are considered to be the place where emotions are held. Ignore the hips and you ignore emotions.
The tears felt like a release, my own witness to moving through a posture I've clouded-up with fear. I felt a shift in myself in the postures that followed my tripod---body felt more open and I felt stronger. What I love about yoga is how I can feel these shifts in my body, knowing that I carry with me this breakthru experience into other aspects of my life.
Fed up with fear. Thank you, tripod and God, for bringing this to my attention.