Some of you may know that I’m not the typical yogi. I’m not shredded and the only six-pack I’ve ever had was a six-pack of Guinness or another reputable alcoholic beverage. You won’t see me with a man bun or wearing flowy pants……though I used to have long hair and do wear a poncho on occasion so maybe……
Anyway, I have been practising yoga for about nine years now and teaching yoga for two years.
I love a tough vinyasa class, a class where I will sweat like Christy Moore giving it loads on the Bodhran, if you know what I mean, but I stayed away from crazy intense poses like handstand, headstand, inversions in general. To be honest, I was scared of them. I was scared that I couldn’t do them and that I would fail or hurt myself. Scared of lots of things.
My preference as a teacher is to teach Vinyasa Yoga. That was my goal since I took YTT with Semperviva two years ago. Last year I took a 40-hour Vinyasa add on and landed a regular teaching slot at Just Yoga shortly after that.
I feel I can give a tough class without necessarily having a very challenging peak pose or any peak pose at all for that matter. In my opinion, I have no business teaching a pose unless I can take that shape myself.
Six or eight months ago I had a niggling feeling that I would love to be able to do tripod headstand. This was partly my ego when I saw other men in classes with strong practices but also partly my sense of responsibility nudging at me. I thought that if I want to be a Vinyasa teacher maybe I should be able to offer some inversions in my classes.
The same feeling came over me with handstand about six or seven weeks ago.
If you asked me even a year ago after having taught yoga for a year and having practised for many years if I would ever be able to get into headstand or handstand the answer would have been a solid no.
A wise man once said that hitting the bullseye is the result of a thousand misses, so for tripod I found a really intense but short sequence to build up to it and I practised every day. I definitely missed the bullseye…a lot.
The same was true for handstand. I was always amazed at people able to take a handstand in a yoga class and after I had signed up for Alo moves (an online yoga studio) I found a 31-day handstand routine and thought I’d give it a go.
I remember there were times in both the tripod practise and the handstand practise that I was utterly convinced that I was going nowhere and making no progress with either posture but we don’t call it practicese for nothing.
Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.
For Tripod, it happened by accident. It was winding down time in the office on a Friday and I thought I’d give it a try. What had been agonizing core work for me for a long time – raising my legs to the air with my head on the ground, happened like magic with absolute ease.
With Handstand, even 2 weeks ago, I thought I would never get there but on day 30, when the instructers had been gliding into handstand many days in a row with complete ease, I managed to get there and hold it for a moment.
Now only a week later, I can get there with little effort. I’m still working with the wall but one step at a time.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
The Moral of the story is not that I’m great because I learned to do a handstand, the moral of the story is that I wanted to do a handstand. I doubted myself but tried anyway.
The person who says it is impossible should not interrupt the one doing it
Honestly, the belief did not come until I actually got to where I wanted to go but I did not give up. If you can’t break through the doubt you can ignore it. Keep going, you will get there, no matter what it is, push through, work, practise, every day.
Every time you miss that bullseye it is taking you a step closer to your goal. Every time you miss it is one less time you will miss. It’s one more practise round crossed off your list and one step closer to your destination.
Why do we fall?
So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up
– Batman Begins
Whatever it is you are working on it, keep going.