my relationship with inversions is tumultuous, to say the least.
occasionally, inversions and i are on a high. literally. my toes reach high in the direction we as humans are not accustomed + it’s empowering as hell. i smile to myself. i feel joy. the spine aligns just right, the crown of my head driving into the ground + the extraordinary occurs.
other days we reach a low. inversions frustrate me more than any other category of asana. yes, i might lack superwoman strength still + could always improve alignment- but overall what stops me most from flying high – is fear.
+ that is something i want to face.
i am by no means an inversion master. not the girl on instagram transitioning freely through handstand variations. i use the wall a lot. i get terrified in the presence of other yogis while practicing in class. cartwheeling was an obstacle before even beginning a handstand practice. i get stubborn sometimes. i have looked yoga teachers in the eye while they encourage me to lift up into tripod headstand + simply said “no way- not today”.
but why do i keep going back to them? why despite the ungraceful falls, do i want to keep trying?
i’ve decided this is why.
5 quick and clear reasons that yogis continue on the inversion crazy train:
- they are powerful: you feel amazing when you reach a new milestone in any inversion practice. when you reach your personal edge, go beyond + create a new one. that’s the sweet stuff. when fear doesn’t stop you.
- they are humbling: much like the edge you reach, sometimes it turns out to be a cliff that you tumble down. we all need to be humbled. we must remember that we are powerless over the events of our lives + actions of others. yoga prepares us for cliffs.
- they teach us compassion: i discuss compassion a lot. i have learned self compassion, and try to practice compassion for all beings through vegan eating. compassion can be applied in so many ways. having compassion for our flaws, for our progress + for the present moment, rather than “should-ing” or wishing for an alternative, is what a challenging yoga practice teaches us. many of these asanas don’t come within a few days. they are earned. providing yourself compassion through the progress is key.
- they are playful: some inner child stuff goes down. a prideful, “hey! everyone look at me! i’m standing on my head!” -thing happens. you almost can’t help it. i mean come on, it looks cool.
- they give you a new perspective: ok, this cliche opportunity here was obvious, yet remarkably true. things aren’t cut + dry. not everyday will be the same. humans by nature don’t stand on their hands, yet it’s possible. i believe because, at one point or another an individual’s world WILL be turned upside down + for that reason inversions prepare yogis for the chaos. they create the balance, the breath, the stillness required when that hectic cyclone of events comes our way in another area of life.
but like the ebb + flow of all things vulnerable or beautiful, there is progress, change, growth + a constant urge to reach higher.
inversions. a true example of a lesson on the mat that holds as much significance when leaving the yoga studio.
may your handstand victories be sweet + your landings soft, yogis!