The most frustrating pose in yoga for me is handstand.
I can’t do it.
In a regular yoga class, this has been annoying. In teacher training class it’s making me insane because everyone else in class can do one. I am The. ONLY. One. Who. Can’t.
Except that’s not true.
I only know that I’m not the only one because we all whisper about our limitations during breaks. It’s like we’re confessing to torrid affairs they way we quietly confess to each other what we can’t do. The eyes well with tears of shame and embarrassment.
The frustration is endless.
And the more frustrated I get the more likely it is that I WON’T get my feet up that god-damned wall.
I’ve been able to do it with some assistance, but I can’t seem to kick my feet up on my own.
The key to doing a handstand is finding comfort in instability.
You see why this is an issue for me now, right?
Instructors tell you to explore the movements like a child would, but I seem to have lost that skill when I was a child. In fact, I can tell you exactly when—I was 9 years old and was doing some crazy-ass gymnastics flip on the monkey bars during recess. I was spinning wildly like I had done a million times before, but this time I slipped, my hands released from the bar and I sailed through the playground and landed on my head.
(I know—this explains A LOT.)
I was fine—just a concussion, but it was definitely the beginning of the end of my risk taking days. Now I’m definitely more cautious.
It’s not even that I’m afraid to be upside down. Once I’m up, I feel amazing. In fact, Iyengar yoga instructors believe that inverting gives your organs a rest, improves circulation and increases your concentration. A couple of months ago I took an Iyengar workshop where they taught us to use ropes in various poses. When we got to headstand she had us hang (with the assistance of the ropes) for up to seven minutes. It was amazing. (Side note: the instructor told us that reversing your blood flow every day can keep your body young. More reason to figure out this damn pose!)
My problem is I just can’t generate the momentum to get upside down. I know I have the strength. I just haven’t been able to overcome the fear of transitioning from the floor to the wall. You know who CAN get his feet up the wall? The husband! Tell me THAT doesn’t piss me off.
The instructor assures us that it’ll happen in time, that when she started her teacher training program she couldn’t do one either. (I totally don’t believe her, by the way.)
So now I have to figure out how to find comfort in instability.
Yeah. That’s going to go well.