Freedom to Fly
-By Jessie Dwiggins
It’s exciting when your yoga practice evolves to include arm balances and inversions! However, it’s normal to feel anxious about taking flight. First, we’re not accustomed to using our hands to balance on, and second, there is a chance that we might fall on our face. Entering these poses with hesitancy and fear creates contraction and inflexibility, making the poses more difficult.
Arm balances and inversions do require a certain about of effort and force, but they also require an understanding of the pose mechanics and a willingness to play. The secret is to move from a space of ease and awareness. Experiencing these more challenging poses for the first time can be exciting, empowering, and liberating and they can teach us a lot about how we approach other challenges.
Consider the following as you explore the possibility of defying gravity:
· Are you aware of how your thoughts and beliefs influence your practice?
· Do you savor the process of learning challenging poses or rush and push though to “stick” the pose?
· Can you disconnect from the ego and struggle in your practice and be willing to enjoy the creation of a new pose?
· Do you allow your breath to support you in poses and help you to maintain presence and clarity?
· Can you feel the sensations in your body while in the poses, tuning in to what you’re experiencing moment to moment?
· Are you willing to feel any emotion that might arise during your practice?
As you learn more about yourself in relationship to challenging yoga poses, think about how you might apply what you learn to your life. Yoga practice is more than just a series of exercises designed to reduce stress and create physical fitness. Each lesson we learn on the mat can be applied to our life off the mat.
Approaching life’s challenges in the same way you that you approach a challenging yoga pose creates freedom from suffering. When faced with a stressful moment, can you pause and respond in a way that nurtures you rather than just reacting? Can you relate to the world around you with clarity and understanding? Can you allow yourself and others to be just as they are without judgment? Can you let go of your agenda and attachments?
Embrace the excitement of incorporating arm balances and inversions in your practice and how you might include their lessons into your life. The process is insightful, thrilling, rejuvenating, and above all, fun!
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