Thursday, May 26, 2011

Upside Down

I am somewhat of an inversion junkie. For some reason, feeling that stacking of bones while blood rushes to my head gets me more tipsy than a few Captain & Diets. I remember the first time I felt stable in headstand - I never wanted to come down! It just felt My cheeks hurt for 2 days from the resulting perma-grin.

That said, I am really bad at inversions. Handstand and forearm balance are those pie-in-the-sky poses for me. I really WANT to be good at them, yet I can't get the stacking feeling. I always seems to kick up too hard or too soft - a lot of it depending on where I am at. Put me in front of a wall and I put too much power into my kick so the wall catches me. Put me in the middle of the room and my lack of confidence stops me from putting in enough oomph to get my legs over my hips.

Naturally, I picked any class at the Midwest Yoga Conference that even so much as mentioned the word "inversion" in its description. I was so excited - I wanted to drink in whatever I could to help me out. First up was Brock and Krista Cahill's Bouancy Control class that promised to teach us how to be lighter and get up into those inversions. It went something like this: boat, crunches, boat, crunches, handstand, boat, crunches, chair, chair, chair, boat, crunches, crunches, boat, boat, push ups, boat, handstand, boat, etc. In other words, almost no inversions! I was a little bummed seeing as I had gone in with the expectation of spending half the class upside down (that will teach me to not go into a class with expectations!). It was a good class, just way too much core work for my taste.

Fast forward to Les Leventhal's Arm Balancing and Inversions class the next afternoon. He had us pull our mats to the wall and proceeded to work on all different variations of inversions. About the 3rd or 4th time I went up, I began to notice something - I was no longer falling to the wall! I was catching my legs instead of letting them fall back to the wall. I was balancing! Feeling brave, I moved my mat to the middle of the room. There I proceeded to stick out some of the inversions for multiple breaths sans wall - something I had never had the confidence to even try before!

And that is when it hit me - it wasn't the arm balancing class that brought me to this, it was all of that core work the day before. The core work from Brock and Krista is what gave me the strength to feel in control while upside down. What I was frustrated with is really what I needed to get to this point. I finally was able to "get" and appreciate yesterday's class.

So many times, we want the end result but don't want to put in the hard work to get there. We want a magic pill. We want to skip the unpleasant parts and just get to the pot of gold. But there usually is no secret short cut. This set of classes taught me that. Just a little effort during the journey can make all of the difference in the world. I am by no means an inversion professional, but just feeling that slight stacking in Les' class was enough to make me appreciate the work I need to do to get there permanently. In classes this week I found myself amping up the effort during the postures I tend to back off on - crunches, boat, chaturunga, pushups, plank, etc. Those core poses that are uncomfortable and unpleasant. It finally sunk in that to make my end goal - confident inversions - a reality, I need to really work on my core strength. What used to be dreaded is now a huge opportunity to push myself farther. Next time you find yourself backing off of something, try to look at the big picture. Try putting in 110% even if you are uncomfortable and annoyed - everything prepares us for something. What is your next unpleasant situation preparing you for?

No comments:

Post a Comment