Take the LeapEver since my weekend in Cleveland with Kathryn Budig, I have been playing with floating in my practice. I am amazed at just how light I feel some days on my mat and am truly surprised at the progress I’ve made since November, with lots of practice of course. Handstand has always been that pose that really brings out my inner critic. I hear that I’m not good enough voice in my head pipe up telling me that never, in a million years, will I be able to float on my hands. While I don’t really care for it’s two cents, I hear the voice loud and clear assuring me that the pose “is just not possible for me”.
Last night, to my surprise, I caught myself in handstand for a full 10 breaths. No crashing down, no falling out, just a solid handstand to chatarunga.
The catch? I was at the front of the room, with the wall right behind me. Oh that sweet, sweet wall. It’s always there for me. My little safety net ready if I kick a little to hard or fall off balance. With a tiny tap of my toe I’m back to floating without falling. Perfection. But is it really? With the wall behind me, I find a sense of power and strength in my inversion practice that I haven’t been able to access in the middle of the room. Sure, it’s fun to do a handstand in front of the wall, and I fully support building strength this way but at a certain point I’m going to have to risk moving away from the wall. We have to be willing to fall or we will never really grow. I am teetering on that edge right now. I can find my balance in front of the wall, but the second it’s taken away from me, I lose it. Why? My safety net is gone. Yoga aside, we all have moments in life where we lean on our back up plan. A person, a place, a thing that we know is always there for us. Maybe it’s a good support, maybe it’s a slow poison we can’t seem to peel ourselves away from. Either way, it feels damn good when we fall back to it, even if the relief is fleeting. Just like me tapping my toe against the wall to save me from my fear of falling, we slip back to our safety nets to keep us from facing our fear, whatever it might be. Why do we do this? Because it’s safe. It’s what we know. I know that with the security of the wall a few feet behind me, I will never fall. You know that by going back to a dead relationship, you won’t have to face being alone. You know that by sticking with the job you hate, you won’t be on the streets. You know that by reaching for a tub of Ben & Jerry’s or a bottle of Pinot Grigio, you won’t have to feel your pain (okay fine, maybe I know this one too). You know that by sticking with what’s comfortable, you will never fail. The problem with this? We rob ourselves of the opportunity to realize how powerful, strong and capable we really are. By constantly practicing in front of the wall, I will never know if I can float in the middle of the room. By always relying on that one person, you never give yourself a chance to see that you are capable and strong enough to get through it without them. By running back into that relationship you know was dead weeks, months, maybe even years ago, you never give yourself the opportunity to discover a newer, truer love. By sticking with that job you dread getting up for, you never explore where your passion lies and what you are really meant to do. And while it may feel good in the moment to play it safe, all we’re really doing is keeping ourselves stuck. So how do we realize our full potential? It takes a leap of faith. Dragging your mat to the centre of the room and going for it. Leaving the relationship once and for all and trusting that you’ll be okay on your own. Dropping the security of your safe job and going for something that is risky but you know in your heart to be right. The jump is scary and it may end with a crash, but it carries a high reward – your happiness. Take the leap.
"Come to the edge, he said. We can't. We're afraid, they Replied Come to the edge, he said. We can't. We'll Fall. Come to the edge, he said. And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew." Guillaume Apollinaire