Monday, September 23, 2013

How I Learned, and Finally Got, Pincha Mayurasana (kind of)

I really like inversions. I get a little thrill off of being upside down. When my legs kick up and my vision turns around, I get this feeling like I'm a kid going down the really big slide.

Did I mention that I am mortally afraid of falling? I am. It crosses my mind that every damned time I go upside down that I could, *GASP*, fall. Yes, I realize that I am only 5 feet tall, and that it really isn't that far.The worst thing that could rationally happen is that I hit the floor with a little thud, and then get back up again.
My fear of falling isn't rational. And to be fair, it is just as present when I try to jump off a 20 ft. platform into a lake during Tough Mudder, or when rock climbing at 30 ft.

I don't want to fall, EVER.

Maybe it's a control issue. Maybe it's that I don't want to break my neck or hurt myself. Maybe it's just a stupid hang up that I'd really like to get over.

I first decided I wanted to do Pincha when I saw the Michelle Marchildon doing it on the cover of "Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Stronger and Wiser Through Yoga". I recall thinking, if she can do that, I totally can. It has to be easier than handstand, which I've been on the cusp of (with my wall firmly in place), for months.

It looks a lot easier...

It isn't.

In class I started playing around in Dolphin, trying to kick my legs up. No dice.
I thought I was stronger than this. Self doubt crept in. Maybe I'm not as strong as I thought.

I asked a few of my teachers for advice. One said "What's the worst that could happen if you fall?". The other said, "I want you to stop using the wall as a crutch".


But, I can do it against the wall, where it's nice and safe. I know this isn't the right way.
I promised myself that every single day, I was going to go down to my basement gym where the floor was padded, get as far away from the wall as I felt sane to do, and keep trying.
I did it every day. Or at least I tried to. Sometimes I would use the wall just to feel what it could be like if I were doing it right. My ass felt like it weighed 100 lbs. I just couldn't. Get it. Up.

Ok, I need another trick. I talked to one of my yoga teachers more. She mentioned there were tutorials on YogaGlo that were pretty informative. I watched. And yes, they were. I drank several of them in, watching as intently as possible and comparing what they were doing to what I was doing (wrong).

My face wasn't looking down at the floor, it was looking out. You can't get your legs over your head while looking out. Not at my skill level, anyway. And my hands were spaced wrong. If you use a block  between your hands, nestled in the angle of your thumb and index finger, the space is just right to allow your shoulders to balance you, as they were intended.

Off to my gym I went, armed with new information and vigor. This went on a for a few more days. I practiced my inversions in between sets of weightlifting, during led yoga class, during the day in my living room between clients.

Then it happened. After two days of using the block, as far away from the wall as I felt comfortable, it happened.

One leg up. Then two. Pincha Mayurasana.

The feeling was pure joy. I was really, completely, proud of myself. So I did it again and again until my arms couldn't hold me. I showed my family. I took a photo.
I tried it in class again, and I did it. But, I needed the wall nearby in front of me (you know, just in case). I still need the wall at least 3 ft. in front of me for my sanity. I don't really use it, except for in my mind.

One day I won't need the wall anywhere around, even if I'm not really touching it. One day it won't be my security blanket. One day I will know it is okay to fall, and get right back up.

This one day will be very soon, because I will practice Pincha every day until I get the pose in exactly the manner it deserves. In the way I deserve. These poses aren't just asana. Pincha Mayurasana is teaching me about what I need to learn in my life. I need to let go more often. To trust that if I fall, I will get back up, and it's all going to be okay.

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