Day 9: Gain New Perspectives

By now I think it’s clear that one of my reasons for enrolling in yoga teacher training was to see things in ways I haven’t before, hopefully prompting some sort of personal transformation in the end. Well, yoga is certainly the practice to try if you want new perspectives — both figuratively and literally.

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Today in our asana practice, we worked on inversions — headstand and forearm balance specifically. As the name suggests, inversion poses take you upside down and encourage you to view the world from this untraditional orientation. Throughout my years of practice, I’ve always been beyond timid to try these postures. I love having my feet on the ground and feel vulnerable and unstable when I’m flipped the opposite way.

I’m curious about when this fear of mine truly began to develop. I come from a dancing background, and I loved gymnastics as a child (until back handsprings came into play because I thought zero hands and feet on the ground mid-flip was just crazy). I did cartwheel after cartwheel on the beach in the summertime, and I kicked my legs as long as it took to get my swing on the swingset to the height of the bar above me. I loved it.

So what the hell happened? When did I begin feeling these physical limitations that developed into such a rigid fear?

I suppose the time and place of its origin really don’t matter as much as the fact that the fear exists and I now have to decide what to do with it. So I decide to keep practicing, keep pushing against it. I keep kicking my legs up to the wall in handstand and I’m this close to stacking my hips above my shoulders. And I found myself in my first successful forearm balance today (something I rarely tried in the past because the thought of my head only being protected by the height of my upper arms and the strength of my shoulders made me chicken out).

I’m making progress. It’s freaking terrifying, but it’s still progress. And I genuinely believe that with continued progression, my fears will fade. My body will feel lighter, my mind will feel free, and I will be not just willing but desiring to try anything new at least once. That’s the kind of perspective I’m seeking. Know myself but also know no bounds.

Can you imagine living your life this way? What do you see when you do?

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