Beginnings, Courage, Intention, Lessons From Postures

Lessons From Handstand – Part I


I’m still working at my “marathon pose” – handstand. Though I’ve been making progress, it’s still, uh – evolving(?).

Do poses take longer because we have more knowledge to acquire from them? Or does the pose reveal itself only when we have learned all that we’re supposed to from it?

A few things I’ve discovered so far that are applicable both on and off the mat:

Let Yourself Fall”

On the mat: When I tell myself, “it’s okay to fall,” I find more extension and stay up longer than I thought I would. I think this occurs for a few reasons. One, I’m more relaxed to recognize I might get hurt and I accept it’s just part of the learning process. Whereas if I’m determined not to topple over I’m so tense and rigid I hardly go anywhere. The unrealistic expectation weighs me down.

Off the mat: We have to face the certainty that no matter how big or small the pursuit is, we’re going to have to confront the unknown at some point. Whether that’s in the form of new information, an unanticipated obstacle, or a surprise response, something that we haven’t imagined will appear. We can accept it and embrace it, or be in denial and at odds with it. Regardless, we may flub how we handle things but it’s okay because it’s a necessary part of the learning process. We have to flub. 

Work On Your Core”

On the mat: Whenever I do my ab work first, my handstands are stronger and steadier. Our guts are the bridge between our foundation of support (our arms) and what’s dangling above us (our legs and feet). When that connection is established, it’s a sturdy pathway of extension for growth.

Off the mat: When our relationship to our core values is broken, we tumble around in a directionless free fall and are moved away from our center. We need a solid foundation and a sturdy connection to extend ourselves, to grow into the best expression of our higher selves. It’s only when we’re attached to our core values that we can sprout into limitless potential. 

Focus On What’s Working”

On the mat: If I’ve eaten a big meal or in general, am just feeling large and heavy, when my attention is on those parts, I feel like I’m dead weight. I have to kick harder and exert more energy just to get up. Instead if I shift my focus to what feels light, say my toes, I float up with more ease.

Off the mat: Our dead weight in life is in the form of doubts, worries, limited beliefs and fears. Instead if we focus on our strengths and what’s going well in our lives, we lighten our being and can move more swiftly through any endeavor.