Yoga Inversions: Step 1 – Do The Work!

From Fear To Fun

How does one go about conquering their fear of inversions?

Just do it.

That is to say in yoga, as in life itself, there are no shortcuts.

You have to do the work.

I heard a teacher tell that to a student last week when asked how to get better at a pose and it made the whole room laugh. Mostly because he acknowleged thst on some level we are all looking for a shortcut. A way to conquer our fears that is less difficult, less confronting, and of course quicker.

While there are certainly guidelines and principles that will guide you in being more efficient with your efforts, nothing can take the place of simply stepping onto your mat and doing the work.

Unrolling your mat is half of the battle.

There is a very true saying that goes “Where your attention goes prana flows”. In order to wake up “sleepy”  places inside our bodies we have to visit them. We must go about  reawakening them over and  over again.

It is scary. It kinda feels like walking out to the edge of a cliff and hanging ten of the side preparing for a high dive.

In order for it to feel second nature you have to go to that place where it is no longer comfortable or safe.

This is where the breath comes in. The breath keeps us in our bodies. It keeps us in the moment. It keeps us steady, easy and consistent.

Without the wisdom and guidance of the breath we also may become overly ambitious thrashing about unwittingly without proper limitations. The breath keeps us grounded, sensitive and aware.

photo credit: Marysia Weiss of The Hot and Healthy Blog. Photo by Jasper Johal

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Yoga: Fear,Freedom and Falling Down

“As fear is close companion to falsehood, so truth follows fearlessness.”

— Jawaharlar Nehru

MORE PHOTOS OF KRISTA CAHILL

A conversation about handstand a year ago would have consisted of a long list of excuses of why I could not do them.

I am too flexible

My shoulders are too weak

I am too scared

blah, blah, blah..

We can call them ‘obstacles’ or ‘excuses’, but we all have them.

Obstacles are put in our path so that we can to grow. Its our job to show up on our mats and in our lives and face our fears breath by breath, day by day.

I wrote earlier about how I finally achieved a Handstand away from the wall and today I am writing to celebrate falling out of a Handstand.

Falling you say?

Yes! Falling!

My good friend and yoga teacher Krista Cahill (pictured above with husband Brock Cahill who is also a yoga teacher here in Santa Monica at Yogis Anonymous) Took me through falling out of Handstand guiding me step by step. I knew that only after I could fall seamlessly in any direction would I feel completely at ease. (Think about this, not being at ease is called disease,..that is what happens when we hold on to fear)

Falling gracefully is even more liberating than Handstand itself (although not as impressive a party trick mind you) as it gives you a kind of fearlessness that is beyond it. Beyond Handstand or any ‘yoga trick’. Learning to fall is about facing your fears and learning from them. It’s about improving the way you deal with the obstacles in your life. It’s about not just squeezing your eyes shut and praying for it to be over.

It’s about looking your fear right in the eyeball for a good ‘ol fashion stare down (think Clint Eastwood)

Okay, maybe not quite like that, but you get the idea…

When you know that you are safe, supported and capable, fear itself is obliterated.

Strength, support, knowledge, and experience these are the tools in the yogis tool box. These are what chases the fear out of its hiding places in our hearts and in our minds.

Fear and all its Friends

You know exactly how to do it.

What is holding you back?

Fear

Fear is like a weed that attaches itself to your soul and sucks the life giving blood from your veins. If you allow yourself to be a fertile feeding ground it runs rampant devouring everything it touches.

It will find your weaknesses and exploit them, be it love relationships, career moves, or physical manifestations. It is indiscriminate, relentless and devoid of reason.

Yoga provides a way to face your fears head on and breath by beautiful breath dissolve them. I am not going to tell you this will be easy! This is Hard work!!! However if you are ready to practice being present with your fears and dig up the very root of where they have taken hold start your journey today!

Not tomorrow, or a better time!

Today!

Tomorrow your fear will have grown stronger,.. like a parasite, and you its willing host!

Be strong, be free, be willing to look into the dark corners of your being and uproot where fear has made its stronghold.

Start being the abundant talented and glorious human being you were put on this planet to be!

One step away from fear is one step closer to life!