Many of my yoga teachers mention vague stories about how some of their most elegant, advanced poses took them years of trying before they mastered them.
For me, my multi-year trial-and-error pose will be handstand. Against a wall, I’m fine. In fact, I’m now bored. But turn around and attempt to balance in the middle of the room, and it becomes a completely different posture. I hold back and I’m more tense because I’m not sure where the tipping point is (literally). I’m scared to fall to either injure myself, or worse, take out an innocent bystander.
Yet what is falling but giving into the unknown? Maybe we’ll tumble and suffer a bruise or a strain but what if we experience those few seconds of feeling freedom and landing safe and stable on our feet?
My fear of falling is in handstand, but to someone else this could be forearm stand, an arm balance, tree, crow or anything.
Pattabhi Jois is famous for saying, “Practice, practice, practice and all is coming.” As the physical aspects of our practice begin to unearth the nooks and crannies of our personalities, learning to fall could be symbolic of other areas of our lives whether it’s pursuing love, trying a new activity, or changing careers. It takes courage to first attempt, relax into uncertainty, and then have the patience to let the answer unfold.
If we stay with fear it binds us to the what we already know. Fear smothers enthusiasm. It imposes tension, inflexibility, and stress. It’s an overall withdrawal of our best selves.
If we’re ever going to grow the boundaries of our being we have to allow ourselves to detach from the established awareness we already have. In fact to get to our most advanced, elegant selves we should practice falling every day…