Overcoming the fear in yoga

On Friday, I went to my first yoga class in a few weeks. I also did a headstand for the first time, with the teacher firmly by my side for support.

It’s funny, because in the last class I went to, I felt incredibly disheartened in my practice — both in my struggle through basic poses and my inability to get arm balances like the headstands. After 6 years of practice, I’ve never been able to master these poses and it’s incredibly frustrating to watch others go into them so effortlessly.

I think a lot of it stems from fear. Fear of falling on my face, fear of breaking my neck. The latter is a fear I’ve always had; as a kid somersaults scared the crap out of me. But this fear is a major impediment to reaching the next level of my yoga.

After failing yet again at reaching the headstand in the last class, I reflected on my fears and made a commitmet to get over it. One of my resolutions for 2010 was going to be achieving a headstand.

And then I promptly forgot about it.

Until Friday. Yet again, I stumbled through most of the class, and then the instructor took us through headstand. I silently screamed at him, remembering the promise I’d made to myself and how quickly it’d left my priorities.

But Friday was different. The instructor set it up over three steps, helping us ease into it. After everyone else came out of the pose and took a child’s pose, I decided to try one more time. Knowing I probably couldn’t fully do it, but maybe I could at least get both feet off the ground for a split second.

Baby steps, right?

As I kicked around, the instructor came up behind me and guided both of my feet off the ground. Suddenly there I was, tightening my core, pressing into my arms, and freaking the f*ck out. I felt that at any moment I could fall, but I knew he was there and that between the two of us, I could stay balanced.

It was only a few seconds, but it was literally the best few seconds of my week. I came into my child’s pose and I’d be lying if I denied the few tears of joy that trickled out.

I can’t wait to try again — this time all by myself. I know what I need to work on and most importantly, I know that I can do it.

This really was just the kick in the pants I needed to boot my yoga apathy out the door.

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7 Comments

Filed under glass half full, Y is for Yoga

7 responses to “Overcoming the fear in yoga

  1. That’s awesome! I’m sure if I attempted it I’d end up knocking out a few people on the way down.

  2. Sometimes, it’s these baby steps that really bring us to our next level in yoga practice. So impressed with you!

  3. ria

    yay! congrats! it’s such a good feeling to accomplish something that we had feared. way to go lady!

  4. walkingonsunshine18

    That’s AWESOME! 🙂

  5. Wow way to go on the headstand. I absolutely cannot do that but I have little things along the way I’ve done that has helped me move forward with yoga. Way to go!

  6. Ahhh!! Yay!!! How awesome! Headstands totally freak me out, too.

    But, you’re right—it’s all just fear. If we keep trying, with faith rather than fear, we realize what we can truly do.

  7. A Headstand?! In YOGA? I don’t know if this is the same kind of yoga I’ve ever done in the past (Vinyasa??)… but seriously, that is fucking bad-ass.

    Next time have someone take a photo. 🙂

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