Going Upside Down A Yoga Arm Balancing Lesson

Going Upside Down

It was me, my mat, and the music. Alone in a big room, hardwood floors, and large windows. I challenged myself to a yoga duel. My courage vs. my fears of not being strong enough. It was going to be an epic battle or so I thought. I began slowly in a solid downward facing dog. Grounding my hands, my feet, and letting my head drop. Ah, my body relaxed into the sense of release. It began to open up and let go of  the tension  built up since my last practice. Every move felt familiar and yet fresh. My breath was the link between one pose and the next. Timing it like a metronome to a powerful piece of music. Once warmed up and I was ready for more challenging poses. Without hesitation I dove in head first, literally.

I began with crow; balancing my knees on my triceps, leaning forward, feet lifted off the ground. Building on crow I placed my head down and pressed my feet up, tripod head stand. “Landed! Score!, I thought to myself. Intuitively I knew it was time for something fresh. Tripod into flying pigeon! My head filled with doubts, “I don’t know if I can land that from here. I challenge my students all the time to take a risk so, here it goes. Walking the walk baby!”

Still in Tripod Headstand I slowly began my transition into Flying Pigeon. First I bent my right knee, placing my foot on the outside of my left knee, rock solid core drew both legs in and landed my shin on my triceps. “Yes! I did it!”, I said out loud barely above a whisper. Determined not to stop, because I knew I could do more. Pressing my feet up into Tripod again and then finished with Crow. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I shouted. I swore it was a moment that rocked the Universe. Then I looked around and it was a celebration of one. Literally, just me, jumping around pumping my fists in the air like a silly girl. I ran to the phone and texted the news, delayed response. Not to be let down by the silence the party of one continued. Excited I moved through a series of different combinations, it was like a weight of limitation had been lifted. All of the sudden genius was with me. Creativity was everywhere! I thought, “I could combine those arm balances with those inversions. Oh goody! I can transition here and float into it there. It was like being in a yoga candy store and trying all kinds of flavors at the same time. Each flavor although familiar combined in a new way opened up my taste buds to exciting possibilities. On fire I kept creating combos until my muscles gave out. Flopping on the mat in happy exhaustion.

I bet you’d like to know the lesson in all of this. There’s magic in the familiar. Magic in the daily practices. There’s magic everywhere; in being open, in combinations, and in beginning again. There’s space for surprises in the familiar. In fact it makes them even more delicious. Having ears to hear, eyes to see, and a willingness to explore it works, it all works. Dance with the familiar,  it has a lot to show you.


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