For the longest time I struggled with inversions. The only decent inversion I could really get into was Viparita Karani, or simply put, the legs up the wall pose but all the others were so hard for me to discover. Eventually when I realized how afraid I was of free falling,Β  I made friends with the snail and the plow. Later on I made my way to half decent shoulder stands, but they never really were quite there. The only inversion I ever managed was when I tried AntiGravity Yoga, and that really was an awesome experience. But what I really longed to do in my heart of hearts were headstands and handstands on the ground.

I tried almost every day to find my way to being upside down but I could never find my way there. I’d find myself feeling envious of my friends who had a great inversion practice and I longed to be able to do that as well, but it was just so darned elusive. Every time I tried, I failed but I kept telling myself one day I will do it. My teachers would always say to just let go of the fear and trust that my core would be there to hold me up and that they would be around to spot and support me. I’d always say it wasn’t the fear holding me back, because I really wasn’t afraid of falling but that my body just couldn’t do it. They’d keep encouraging me to try and would really stand beside me and try to coax me to lifting my hips up higher and tippy toe my way off the ground. But for some reason, even if they were very encouraging and supportive, I would never let them spot me during an inversion. i never minded when they adjusted me in whatever other pose I was in, but I was always afraid of having them spot me in an inversion. I would be afraid they’d let me fall, or not be able to catch me. And yeah, I guess it was also a bit of me being ashamed of my size and worrying that if they helped me, I’d end up hurting them.Whatever it was, the mere thought of having them help me into an inversion made me very anxious.

The other day, however, during a power yoga class, Anna, our teacher for the day, threw in a bit of an inversion in a partner yoga exercise which she called the flip flop where in one of the partners would get on a quick handstand while the other catches her legs over her shoulders and folds down into uttanasana, essentially flipping the other over.

Um…it was bad enough that there was a headstand involved, but to do this with a partner? Errr…yung teacher pa lang nga nahirapan na ako to let them help me what more a total stranger, diba??? Hehe. Oh, and did I mention I was doing this class in a studio I don’t always practice in??? I mean, the people are great and I’ve gotten to know them a bit, but they weren’t the people I practice with regularly.

Nonetheless, I went with it and immediately offered to be the partner that lifts the other up. As we went through the group, I found myself quite surprised with a desire that was unfamiliar to me…I actually wanted to say yes and let someone help me up into a handstand and allow myself to let go of the floor and let someone take control over my body as she lifted me up and over. However, I was on my moon cycle and decided to allow my hesitation get the better of me. Boo me.

The next day, I was in another class with Anna, and this time she had us try handstands with a partner and against a wall. I took a deep breath and watched in the beginning and when she turned to me and asked me if I wanted to try, I said yes πŸ™‚ So I made my way into down dog, walked my feet a little closer, kicked up a bit, and allowed Anna to help me into my handstand. Oh the joy πŸ™‚

As I found myself upside down that morning, I began to understand my fear from inside out.

I realized that it wasn’t the fear of falling that was holding me back. But that I was afraid to to ask for help. More so, I was afraid to accept help even when it was freely offered and given. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been the “adult” as I was growing up. Maybe it’s because I’m the teacher and the psychologist who gives help not gets it.Β  Perhaps its because I was afraid to trust, too, that someone can, or wants to for that matter, help me. I guess it was also me being afraid to impose on others, or perhaps worried that I would ask for too much and that the other would be burdened by me.Or worse, I was afraid that if I let someone come close to me and help me, be withΒ  me and support me, that one day they’d tire of me and go away.

But that day, as I allowed someone to help me, it hit me that there are really some things I can’t do alone and if I don’t find the courage to say that, I’d never get anywhere. If I keep letting the fear get bigger than me and overwhelming me, I’d be stuck on the ground, never finding my wings to fly.

And so now, though I have my feet back on the ground and I stand right side up, I take with me what I learned from that moment where I stared fear in the eyes and just looked at it from upside down. It isn’t so bad after all πŸ™‚



1 Comment

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  3. I totally get you, R πŸ™‚ How hard it is to trust someone to take care of you and not give up on you. It’s simply astounding how confronting Yoga can be, whether it be the asana or the meditative practice.

  4. Pingback: Back to Basics: Grounding Down to Take Flight | Open to Grace

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