We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney
I have been working on handstand for the two years and recently held it for 10 seconds and then fell out pretty hard. I was fine, what I noticed is I wasn't embarrassed for falling out, I was excited and ready for more.
This represents an important aspect of yoga that keeps me coming back to my mat: the opportunity to playfully challenge myself without judgment or consequence.
To try something, to attempt a new skill that might be a little scary. To fall. To disregard that fall. And to get up and give it another go.
In yoga, you don't give up on something just because you can't get it exactly right the first, second or 50th time. Yoga doesn't care if you fall or get it right. For the record, yoga also doesn't care if you're flexible. It doesn't care if you want to sit in child's pose the entire class, and it certainly doesn't care if you can do a handstand.
This practice provides the very rare opportunity for you to play and be curious about your body, something we probably don't get to do often enough in our grown-up lives. When else are you given space - both mentally and physically - to take your body, turn it upside-down, test your balance on your hands, head, or forearms, and to fall down, without anyone judging you or even thinking twice?
For this reason, when I walk into class, I'm giddy with anticipation for the new balances I might attempt or share with you, the chances I'll have to go upside-down, the inversions I might hold for a few more seconds than last time, and the opportunities to twist my body in ways I previously thought impossible. There's something extremely special about a tiny room that gives you the courage to play like a seven-year-old amongst a group of adult strangers.
So to anyone who is hesitant to try the "scary" things in yoga (or to try yoga in the first place), stop worrying and play! And completely lose your balance, come right back to your mat and try again.