Balls to the Wall

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Lately, I’ve totally been balls to the wall with inversions, or I should say without the wall, because I am in uncharted territories as I discover my upside-down balancing skills without a wall to support me. And, let me tell you, it’s scary…but completely thrilling! I am challenging myself in my practice like never before and I have a broken laptop, lots of tender knee bruises and a retelling of an embarrassing fall in a yoga studio to prove it.

Inversions are a funny thing in yoga because they are so much fun, yet terrifying, but can also be quite dangerous when done improperly. Take, for example, my experience in using my boyfriend’s laptop to do a quick, 30 minute Yogaglo class entitled, “Find Stability,” which ended in the least stable way possible. I was instructed to do Sirsasana, Headstand Pose, and I think to myself I’ve done tripod headstand without a wall plenty of times before, I can definitely do Sirsasana without the wall. Same thing, right? Oh, I was so wrong! My legs flailed and fell behind me right onto the front cover of Sam’s laptop, breaking one of the hinges and bending the cover. But after a lot of tears, apologies and my entire tax return (and then some) to bring the laptop back to new, I am now a bit more weary of doing an inversion in the middle of the room with an expensive piece of equipment very close by.

But I think the laptop fiasco has given me more of a drive to stick a handstand in the middle of the room, almost like I want to prove to myself that I’m capable of inverting with grace and poise and without breaking anything. Which brings me to the not-so-graceful incident in the studio. Since my inversion-thristy ways have started, I’ve had the comfort of my own room to fall as I please. But when I stepped into a studio the other week, I think my brain didn’t switch off from comfy-home-space mode to in-a-room-full-of-people mode because I attempted to handstand for the first time without a wall. And I did it! For like a second. My thoughts, while most of my body was in midair, went a little something like this: Wow! Cool, I made it up here! I can’t believe…oh woa, where are my legs going? Oh my god, I’m going backwards, aren’t I? Oh shit. How do I get out….BAM! I land on the hardwood floor knees first.  After the lady next to me gasped like I was hit by a car and asked, “Are you okay?!” in the most worried tone, and to ease her alarmed state, I said “I’m fine,” I quickly scrambled back to Downward Facing Dog to come back to my breath and realized my knees are not fine. But I was actually so excited in my shaky, adrenaline-filled Down Dog because, despite falling, I stuck the pose! And despite, needing some more core awareness to zip up my abdominal muscles so I can maintain balance without falling backwards, I need to keep reminding myself that in sloppy times like these I am being bold and brave in my practice. And that’s a beautiful thing. I’m only a novice at inversions once in my life and that’s exciting.

I’ve come to realize that testing my inverting skills in the un-walled waters, that is the middle of room, is the only way to get good at it. Eventually the wall will get farther and farther away if I continue to challenge myself. And although these challenging postures can turn into expensive and awkward mishaps, it’s worth it. As I consistently tell my own students and have learned from my mentors: there is no perfect yoga pose. Wherever I am at in my practice or even in my life is exactly where I’m supposed to be. In the process of growing and evolving in my practice, things will get messy from time to time and that’s okay. It is just a reflection that I’m not stuck in a yoga rut and that I’m pretty ballsy!

Note to self: must learn new emergency exit strategies when inverting.

And here are some playful handstands that all happen to be at the beach! Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Handstand Photos Source: Google Images

Wall Photo Source: Me

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