If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.
This last month of yoga has been full of determination to nail asanas that I never thought I would be able to do 4 months ago. From bakasana (crow’s pose) to astavakrasana (eight angle pose), my arm balances are slowly getting stronger. I can actually work on balancing rather than feeling focused on simply not smashing my face on the mat. I learned how to do ganda bherundasana (chin stand) and although I feel a twinkle of apprehension right before I move up into one, I feel controlled and confident in the asana. I can do shoulder stands, headstands, tripod stands and a couple variations thereof. All of my lunges are feeling much more solid and I’ve been able to focus on my alignment and the upper body stretch that accompanies them – all in all, my yoga practice has been gradually developing and in doing so, I have encountered my next challenge: fear.
It’s silly, I know, what’s there to fear in yoga, right? For starters, I have a fear of falling out of any and every inversion. No matter how many times I tell myself that if I fall, I will only land back on the mat, my mind firmly believes that if I fall out of an inversion, I will then continue to falls several stories to my death. The funny thing is, I’ve never fallen hard out of an inversion. I don’t even know what it would be like to over balance and land in a bridge pose or on my back. I have a fear of something I’ve never experienced. Ever.
In one of my classes, we’re learning how to hop from a downward dog into a handstand. I’ve started getting a good rhythm and every now and then, I can feel my balance point. But I can only do this with a wall at some point in front of me. With no wall, the fear creeps in and I’m disabled to even shift my weight properly into my hands.
Part of yoga is about trusting yourself. It’s about overcoming the unknown, of pushing yourself to do things you didn’t think you would ever do. It’s wanting things you’ve never wanted before and finding the determination to work for it. 4 months into yoga and I’ve realized what my you teachers have been saying from day 1: that yoga is only partially physical, that the physical is a way of overcoming the mental crutches we rely on.
Basically, it’s all in my head.