Something happened today that has never happened to me before.
I was soaking up a YogaGlo class at home when the teacher announced it was handstand time. I am constantly frustrated by my (lack of a) handstand practice and always trying. I’m afraid of falling, you see. I gave my face a good smacking about 6 years ago and I’ve been trying to jump that hurdle ever since.
Making my way to the one wall in my house that allows for kick-ups, I started in. Nope, not gonna happen. But I love inversions so I decided to practice headstand back on my mat. I’ve had a headstand practice for about 9 years now and I’ve never, never ever, fallen. Starting against the wall and then evvvvver so slowly moving out, inch by inch, into the center of the room. It was my Mary Poppins headstand: Pratically Perfect In Every Way. I’ve always been so proud.
Well, today that all changed. I fell. But here’s the funny part, I fell in slow motion. I knew what was happening; I felt the momentum. And what I’ve always been secretly paranoid of began to manifest visually in my mind. I saw a sickening smack and a lot of blue, bruised ego. But that’s not what really happened. I swept that visual aside and processed the best way to land. ‘When should I pull my head up… ok. How close am I to the windows (oh my, better pull my legs in)… done. A little strength so I don’t slam doooooown… yay!’ It was like visualizing a schematic or blueprint for motion and following the steps. I literally thought this all out as I was going down.
When it was all said and done something else unexpected happened: I laughed. It was fun. Maybe because it was something new, maybe because I felt I did it rather well, or maybe because the sky didn’t fall and my world didn’t come to an end simply because I fell.
Of course, my YogaGlo luminary had moved on. I look up and realize that she’s doing another something that I’ve never been able to do… crow into tripod headstand and back into crow. “Well, it can’t hurt, can it? …Let’s give it a whirl.” Still smiling from my fall I pull up into crow and stare down my mat like nobody’s business. Touchdown! Heehee. Getting back into crow may not have been graceful, but it happened… it. happened.
I haven’t gone back and tried handstand yet, but I will. I don’t think this one fall cured me of my falling-on-my-face-in-handstand jitters, but it gave me the basis of a cure. It gave me a foundation from which to overcome fear. Inch by inch, verrrrry slowly, I’ll get there. It gifted me strength in imperfection.
It’s my fear, it’s my ego, and now it’s my laughter.