Friday, May 09, 2014

Handstand-ing [and other small victories]

About a year and a half ago, I did my first adult handstand. It was the first handstand I'd done in 20 or so years. I talked about that experience here.

Nearly a year and a half has gone by since then. In that time, I've had some successes and failures with learning the correct way to get into handstand in yoga practice. Whereas my previous handstand attempts stemmed from my young gymnastics experiences involving a body in motion, a yoga handstand is a still body using strength.

I've spent a good amount of time staring at the wall or floor, trying to reason with myself for handstand. I've done this before. What is there to be scared of? Even still, my mind races and I psych myself out in the kick up process. A few minutes later, a teacher would come by and say some encouraging things. Then suddenly I could muster the strength and courage to kick up. There's one teacher at The Lab who has given a lot of pointers in the last few months. She seems focused on my handstand success. I knew I needed to be too. So I set a goal and told her about it - I would kick up into a handstand by June 1st. Last night, the cards came together and I did it.

 photo borrowed from

On Wednesday night, the class focused on splits with titibasina being one of the peak poses. Though I've had some success getting into the pose from standing, a teacher who was set up next to me encouraged me to try it from the floor. She was compassionate and reasoned with me that I had the strength to do it. After a few tries with shaky arms, I was able to get up.

photo borrowed from

I love the small victories in yoga practice. First time figuring out a pose. Learning how to hold a pose. Refining the pose as you become stronger. It's really a testament that progress comes with time and patience.

But I'm not the only victorious yoga practitioner at The Lab. Each week, I watch my fellow yogis grow stronger, working themselves towards new challenges.

Two of them I know quite well. Last week was a great week for them both.

Sara managed her first unassisted scissors pose in class. She told me the story the next morning at work. She explained that the other members of the class watched as she held the pose. Great job, Sara. I knew you could do scissors!

Carmen stared her inversion fear down two Saturdays ago at The Lab. With help from The Lab's owner, she kicked up into her first ever handstand. Congrats, Carmen. It's #handstandparty time.

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