Even though I've been walking upright for over 45 years, just the other day, in my own home, during daylight hours, I walked into the wall. I mean, my shoulder hit the wall as though I'd never seen it there before. So it's no wonder that yoga inversion poses are a little scary - this walking thing is still touch and go. But, I'll be honest with you, being uncoordinated, as well as having weak arms and a jelly-like core are only convenient excuses I use so that I never have to get my friggin' feet off the ground. Which makes me realize that inversions poses require two parts: working on the body and working on the mind. Working on your body is easy...
You have to crawl before you can walk
We are used to walking around with our head above our hearts. By definition, inversion poses require that your head is below your heart. Actually, you're already getting into inversion poses - downward dog, forward fold, standing straddle. So why not take it to the next level?
Nobody expects you to hop right into a tripod headstand, a handstand, or Tripod. Workshops are ideal for learning the pose between the pose. Let's say you can get one foot off the ground, but not yet two. Or maybe the wall is a perfect prop for the meantime. This is the time to test the limits, -- find your edge--, and discover what your body can do. With assists, you can also find out what it feels like to get in the pose. It is the equivalent of taking the first few steps while still holding onto the coffee table.
What is this fear of falling?
Inevitably, when we hear the word inversion, we can't help but to ask ourselves some version of the question "what if I fall?" As if that would be the first time we've ever fallen down. Unless you have some sort of injury or medical condition, fear of falling is irrational - because we've done it before, and we're gonna fall down again. Why not in yoga, why not now? The only way to get over that is to feel the fear and do it anyway. And once you get into one of the challenging poses, oh the fun you'll have:
Benefits of practicing inversions
According to this Yoga Journal article, practicing inversions can change our perspective, enable self-exploration, and stimulate our immune and endocrine systems. That's just the beginning!
Once you get into that first pose, and you realize you have the capability, you'll start to wonder what else you can do when you give yourself a chance. Next thing you know, you'll be trying side crow, bird of paradise, and those other poses that our teachers preface with, "If its in your practice..." Don't think this new found confidence will be contained in the corners of your mat.You'll be testing your own limits every chance you get.
It seems the trick to holding your body upside down lies in the ability to keep your core solid. It may seem kind of like the chicken and the egg, but the more you practice the stronger your core will get. The stronger your core gets, the closer you get to your ideal pose.
We hope to see you this Saturday for an Inversion workshop with Chante