the next level

lara headstanding

Lara challenges herself and gets into a headstand for the first time.

Tonight was a landmark in my yoga practise. I got into a headstand for the first time on my SECOND try. On my FIRST try I enthusiastically flung my sweaty legs into the air. While they made it up to my intended vertical position, my lower body then continued on, collapsing to the right of my Manduka Mat, legs flailing and knocking over the woman in the calm and steady headstand beside me. In the end we both ended up in a heap on our respective mats.

I was mortified. This woman is the yogini with the perfect full lotus I had admired in my last class. I was the newbie who only recently touched her toes without bending my knees. I apologized to sink back into child’s pose and lick my wounded ego.

After the class I turned to her to apologize once more. “Think nothing of it! Ask anyone, we’ve all been there!”, she said to me laughing. Feeling like she was someone that could understand, I explained this feeling that I've been having, like I am on the brink of being able to push to that next level in my practise, that I KNOW my body can do it but I just need that extra little support (and room around my mat) to get there.

The woman asked me if I wanted to try again with her help. I said “Yes!”

I set up my arms and placed my head in between them with my new yoga buddy standing by, ready to catch me. I raised my left leg, then right leg halfway up. Feeling confident, I slowly raised them up to vertical once more. I tried! I did it! It felt amazing to do something that had scared me! And I made a new yoga friend!

Tonight I was reminded to not be satisfied with things as they are. If I want to grow as a person, as a yogini, I need to take more risks. I will fall again when I try a headstand, once, twice, likely a whole lot more - but that’s ok. The worst thing that my mind could conceive of happening when I envisioned trying to do a headstand happened tonight. But instead of it being a bad thing, it opened up a door to an opportunity where I made a new friend that helped me to experience my yoga practice at a whole new level of engagement.

What are you afraid of doing? Who do you need to help you get to that next level?

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Hahaha… this is what happens to me when i try the handstand… and it’s not my first or second try! When I first started yoga, I was so concerned with doing things the right way. But now i’ve learned that we just need to listen to our bodies and do things on our own time. I loved reading about your takeaway lesson… thanks for sharing!

Comment by Marisa — December 10, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

I couldn’t do a headstand for the longest time and then with patience and practice, I finally got it, just like you. A year or two later, it seems like a piece of cake (maybe I’m a little hungry after the last blog I read). Seriously though, everyone is trying to advance their yoga practice and the easiest way to do that, is to first, accept where you are. Once you can do that without judgement, then the resistance to moving forward fades away. Awesome job!!!!

Comment by Brian — December 11, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

Ha – I’ve done decent headstands for years now, but always at the wall – even if I don’t touch the wall. I’m trying to wean myself away, so now I set up a foot or two away from the wall. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to do one in the middle of the room – good for you!

Comment by Kat — December 12, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

Congratulations! Accepting your defeat then reaching out to a new friend and succeeding that is a pattern we can all take “off the mat and into the world.”

Comment by Julie — December 12, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

Congrats! You should be proud! It’s stories like this that inspire me to continue to grow in my practice!

Comment by Tom — December 13, 2009 @ 8:40 am

It was scary and it still was but it’s when we succed at trying those things that scare us where we get the biggest satisfaction, non? Thanks for the wonderful support!

Comment by Lara — December 14, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

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