I’ve been hanging out in Bali the past 4 days on yet another yoga retreat, teaching and assisting Deb’s Yoga Life Coaching retreat. Other than the longest plane ride I’ve ever had in my adult life, I have no complaints. Even though it was 30+ hour flight from take off to landing at my destination, I knew that it was gonna be worth it even though the thoughts of “are we there yet?” crossed my mind what seemed like every 5 minutes.
The whole trip was definitely a practice of patience for me and it reminded me of the moment I kicked up into my first handstand last week without a wall and falling for the first time into upward bow/wheel pose and then standing up for the first time without any assistance.
I started practicing handstand regularly aroundaugust 2011 and committed to doing one handstand a day for 365 days in 2012. During the whole time I practiced, I never fell once. I was scared to fall and never let myself fall without control, meaning there was not someone to catch me or guide me from a handstand to falling into a backbend. In theory, I knew that I could exit a handstand gone wrong by either cartwheeling out, falling into a backbend, or walking on my hands. Never had the guts to try it so I never practiced without a wall or an assist. So through out the last year or so, I kept practicing not only the pose, but also the strength and alignment that is required to hold a handstand. I got stronger and I got more skilled at noticing how my body is responding and how I am stacking my body over my hands. The 365 day challenge taught me patience because on those days that I could barely get my feet up in the air, I felt defeated. Mostly I learned how to let go of fear and let joy flow. This meant that I turned my fear into excitement.
So last week while at the park with the kids, I had the urge to practice on the grass. No one was looking and the grass looked soft enough if I fell but the thought that went through my head was, “what do you have to lose? you’re not gonna die. If anything, the flight to Bali is gonna kill you.” So I grabbed my iPhone (just in case, I did fall and die, there was evidence of it for the life insurance)… kicked up a few times, held for a few seconds and finally mentally said GO! Something shifted inside and I fell over. It seemed as if my body knew what to do. I felt my toes point and felt like a cat who will land on their feet… so I did… right into upward bow/wheel. Then I said, “what the heck, let’s try to stand up… and so I did. I couldn’t believe it and I looked around to see if anyone saw that so they could confirm that’s what really happened…. oh wait! I have it recording Check it out:
I’ve been videoing my journey and progress on handstand, but I can’t seem to find all the video’s now. So bummed because I wanted to be reminded that practice makes possible and that it doesn’t happen overnight without commitment and passion. Oh well… perhaps this is a telling that it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you weren’t capable of and what matters is what’s happening today and how you’re going to move forward tomorrow.
Just like the how the long flight from hell was worth it, the year journey to handstand was definitely worth it. Now to keep practicing and creating more possibilities. Yay!