Lessons from Handstand – Part II
Will these posts be a trilogy, a mini-series, or an epic serial on handstands???? It’s hard to believe I wrote my first post on this last year because it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. But this pose is still teaching me things both on and off the mat:
“It’s not just about getting the goal.”
ON the mat – Even though I’m aiming to get this pose down one day, I’ve gained other things along the way. Because I’ve been working on my core strength, it has helped me to realize other poses like bound Arda Chandrasana (half moon), Eka Pada Galavasana (one-legged balance), and even quite a few arm balancing transitions.
OFF the mat – We can become so focused on reaching one goal, we don’t notice what else we’re attaining along the way. Perhaps we’re strengthening our endurance to be patient. Maybe we met a new friend, or even made a positive lifestyle change. Sometimes it’s the components of the building blocks to the objective that are significant achievements that should be celebrated too. This also allows more gratitude in our lives.
“Be clear about what you really want.”
ON the mat – For awhile I was concentrating on kicking up and what my legs were doing. Then it dawned on me what I really want is to stay up. That changed my whole focus to re-strategize and pay attention to my foundation of support; my arms, hands, and shoulders! The more I emphasize these things, the steadier I am.
OFF the mat – We can become so busy in “doing” that our priorities can unconsciously become skewed and we accidentally neglect the things that really sustain and grow our authenticity. Whether that’s our family, friends, a hobby, an abandoned habit, or our spirituality, we have to carefully curate and cultivate what we’re allowing in our lives. Our happiest states are usually when we are our most genuine selves.
ON the mat – My goal was to be handstanding in the middle of the room by the end of 2013 but last summer I suffered a pinched nerve that left me injured for about a month. I was devastated! Yet the harder I worked to make myself heal, the worse it got. When I finally surrendered to the fact my goal was delayed and I let my body do what it needed to do, I got better.
OFF the mat – There are things that are beyond our control. When we can identify them and relieve ourselves of carrying an unnecessary burden of responsibility we can be freed up to do other things in the meantime. By resisting what is, we waste our energy and our mind-space. Sometimes waiting is a blessing because it can allow us to reflect or explore other options. We have to believe something bigger than us is helping to guide us in the direction that’s best for us. Trust the process….
“Diana Nyad’s mantra is, ‘find a way.’ ”
ON the mat – I need to be able to practice in the middle of a room with enough space that I don’t have to worry about falling on someone or something. I can’t do that in my tiny NYC apartment or in a yoga class. So I’ve been showing up extra early to the studio to spend ten minutes in a private, spacious room practicing and it’s working. I have a few seconds of hang-time now!
OFF the mat – For anything we want to achieve, we have to be creative with our resources. There are always options and innumerable ways to get to where we want to go. We just have to be committed to scavenging for them no matter how long it takes.