Turning my practice upside-down

Class the other day was all about change — making changes oneself and accepting changes that occur. Some amusing thoughts, as always, from my teacher on his experiences of yoga. I liked his consideration of how many friends you might lose through yoga because you become apparently boring — finding more pleasure in the emerging spring flowers than in an epic Saturday night bender! 😉 I can see the problem, but so far my friends have been very accommodating… Sometimes amused, sometimes baffled, but always generous.

Spring daffodils on my way home from class

Putting change in the broader narrative of our lives, my teacher asked us to consider what we might be like if we hadn’t had to overcome whatever difficulties we’ve faced in our lives. The things we’ve done in response to such difficulties constitute a positive example of changes we can make. I tried not to snort in amusement at this point, since Hubby told me only recently if I hadn’t had to overcome certain difficulties I would be totally unbearable — arrogant, intolerant, lacking compassion, and full of impossible demands. There’s nothing like a loved-one to tell it to you straight!

So the secret I reckon is to stop these past difficulties continually populating the present. They’ve done their work and stopped me being a total w****r (in Hubby’s inelegant phrase). How to let them go now? How to change and move on without constantly revisiting old ground and haunting the past?

handstandWe were urged upside-down in class for a refreshing change of perspective. So there I was in my first handstand. Yes, it was against the wall, and yes a fellow student gave me a bit of a helping hand to get up there. But even so this was one of those exciting milestones, the yoga equivalent of ‘first kiss’ if I might put it like that! 🙂

The adrenaline-fueled excitement of a first handstand made it difficult to keep hold of the underlying message of class. But overcoming the fear of entering handstand itself represented a change I want to see in myself: where my first reaction could be “well, why not?” rather than “I can’t”. Safety-first is a great attitude to have in āsana practice — until it becomes a stifling, self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-sabotage. And as in āsana practice, so in life, right?

One level I’m still thrilling at the frisson of my first little handstand, but an upside-down āsana is just a bit of fun unless I follow through with that change in perspective. Much more thrilling is the glimpse I got of what the future might look like if I moved through a few blockages. It might have been the rush of blood to the head but I spotted some big ideas on the horizon.

And it helps that we’ve recently been considering in class Rumi’s words “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

All this from a handstand.

Bring on the next one!



3 thoughts on “Turning my practice upside-down

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    1. he he! I see what you mean! well, the dances back then were pretty crazy (Charleston, Black Bottom and so on) — perhaps there was a handstand in there somewhere!


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