Learning To Fall

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My inversion game has never been my strongest.

And it’s more a mental thing at this point than anything else. Instead of letting go and trusting that my body knows what to do. There’s a fear that grips me every time my legs fall just a little too far forward, sending my feet firmly back to the ground.

I know I can do it.

But I convince myself otherwise before I even have a chance.

Such is life.

In class this week, I received some advice that helped me look at the practice in a different way. Which is one of the reasons I love yoga. There’s always something to learn.

I watched as the woman next to me went easily from dolphin to legs high up in the air before flipping down into a backbend.

Tuck your head she said, as she repeated the move.

And it suddenly hit me.

I needed to learn to fall. And be comfortable in that space. Realizing that it’s not a failure or misstep, but just another way to be.

My first attempt ended up exactly as expected, with a loud thump and a nervous giggle of relief that I hadn’t broken my neck.

We all need those moments sometimes.

With chin to chest as my toes searched for the other side. I started to feel confident even with the slight flutter that tickled my insides.

In fact, I welcomed it.

If only so I could tell it, no.

And instead of approaching my home practice with that familiar feeling of I-don’t-want-to-be-doing-this-but-I-should. It’s been fun. Hopping up each time, feeling that tinge of fear that I’m going to bust my face and pushing past it. Believing that no matter what happens. I’ll be okay.

As a lifelong perfectionist who struggles to let go of her rigid ways, this is a lesson I find myself working on in many parts of my life. Seeing the world as more grey than black and white. A journey not a destination. Softening the harsh critic that lives inside of me for an enthusiastic cheerleader that celebrates the experience itself, rather than arbitrary measures of achievement. Breaking free from a restrictive convention of success that has dictated my life for far too long.

And of course, my first yoga selfie.

With a ten second timer, nonetheless. Leaving no room for hesitation or doubt.

Giving me just a touch of that unyielding pressure I’m used to.

And click.

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