What I Had to Let Go So I Could Stand on My Head

I have been thinking a great deal about the idea of letting go recently. In particular letting go in my yoga practise. This morning I was in class and I heard a song that has been in my head for the past week or so. Part of the lyric is:
“So let go….
Just get in,
Oh, it’s so amazing here
It’s alright, cause there’s beauty in the breakdown.” (The song is called “Let Go” by Frou Frou. Totally catchy tune. Seriously look it up)

When I heard the song I was in Downward Facing Dog. A huge smile came to my face. I had been thinking of something that happened earlier in the morning that I couldn’t get out of my head and it was distracting me I immediately realized I needed to be in the moment and think about me the mat and only that. That was all it took. Deep breath in and out. The rest of the class was lovely and I felt so connected and present.
It was easy for me to loosen my grasp in that moment and come back to myself. This isn’t always the case for me in my practise. Letting go of unwanted thoughts or distractions is one thing; letting go of fear is something else entirely.

I was talking to another yogi one evening and told her that no matter how hard I try I can’t lift myself up into a shoulder stand unless I roll backwards from a seated position ( which is not the way you are supposed to get into that pose). I was thinking of reasons it could be and she said “It’s because you’re afraid”. I don’t feel like I am afraid of that particular pose but I kept thinking about those words. Was I afraid? And if so, what of? I am still working that pose out. I am not sure it is fear that is holding me back with regard to shoulder stand. When I do manage to tumble my way into it I am okay. Yet the idea of fear holding me back from certain asanas is absolutely valid. I am thinking of one particular pose right now. Headstand!!

One of the partner poses that we work on some nights in class is an assisted headstand. The minute I can tell that we are going to partner up and try it I begin to fear dread. I really really want to do it and yet I very rarely can bring myself to give it my best try. In fact, I have only done it one time. It was the first time I ever tried to do it in a yoga class and I loved it. I wasn’t expecting it. Then I started over thinking it ( over thinking is something i do often and with great ease;))I decided I have a fear of going upside down. A valid fear to a some degree. It is not that I don’t feel safe in class. I always feel safe on my mat. I know I won’t fall down with someone holding me up and I trust that no one will let me fall just as I would not let them fall. I am afraid nonetheless. At this point it I think I have built it up so much In my head that I have become my own self-fulfilling prophecy.The girl who can’t go upside down. I have also started to wonder if it isn’t totally about going upside down at all. It may very well be about feeling like I am not in control. I don’t really know how to look at things from that viewpoint. It is an unusual feeling and therefore makes me feel like I am giving up control of the situation. I have left class sometimes disappointed with myself for not trying hard enough to get past this fear. There have been a few moments when I have thought that I will never move past it; maybe it just isn’t the pose for me. Then I remember a yoga instructor telling me that he worked on headstand every single day for a year before he was able to do it. It isn’t easy. Yet, there is no place I would rather work on getting over my case of upsidedownaphobia( clearly I just made that word up but there has to be a name for it). I know with time and In such a supportive atmosphere I will push myself toward letting go. I here the feeling is wonderful!
“Everything I have ever let go of has claw marks on it “ David Foster Wallace

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