Since I took up yoga last October and finally returned (after years of struggle and disability) to regular exercise, every class has been wonderful.
I've left after the hour and a half feeling tired but invigorated, encouraged, and generally successful with the day's moves and postural challenges.
That is, until this week. This week I hit a wall.
I realized I have a really deep fear of upside down poses: from headstand to handstand to backbend (from a standing position). Fear and disorientation grip me as soon as my second foot leaves the ground.
In an earlier class, we did a headstand against the wall. I was overjoyed that I could accomplish it. Now I realize why it made me feel so capable.
This week, the class included several upside-down postures away from the wall. My fear was palpable every time the teacher directed me to swing one leg up, then the other. Even though she or a partner was standing there to catch and balance me, I felt totally incapable, filled with fear, and disoriented.
The negative self-talk was deafening. Phrases like, "No, no!" and "I can’t. I can’t!" actually escaped my mouth.
The teacher assured me, "You can't; but you will."
You know the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."? I guess this student isn't ready yet.
I need to find that childlike abandon I once had. You know, that lack of fear that allowed you to do cartwheels across the length of the lawn and to try to walk on your hands knowing you would tumble but wouldn't hurt yourself.
There's part of me that needs to analyze the mechanical part of the problem. I realize I need more upper body strength to support my whole weight on my hands or head. But there's also a part of me that needs to let go and trust.
I should add, I'm not the oldest person in the class. That gives me hope in the belief that I'm not seeking the impossible.