Yesterday I took my very first yoga workshop ever. It was called "Turn Your World Upside Down," and focused on inversions.
For anyone who might not know, a yoga inversion is any pose where the head is below the heart. So, yes, there are some obvious ones, like headstand or handstand, but it might also be something more 'cooling,' like Downward Facing Dog, a standing forward fold, or even just putting your legs up a wall and resting. Inversions are said to have a veritable smorgasbord of benefits, including improved circulation, increased energy, better balance, core strength, confidence boosting, and just generally providing a new perspective on life.
Regular readers might remember that it's been less than four months since my first-ever headstand. Since then, I've actually gotten fairly comfortable with it, but I haven't really professed much past that point. I can occasionally get myself into a tripod headstand (where the hands are flat on the ground, as opposed to holding the head), but I can't say I've gotten a whole lot more creative than that.
So this workshop was well worth dragging myself out to the Twisted Yoga studio in Barnet. And where is Barnet, you might ask? Well, I didn't know either. Now I do: Barnet is far, is where it is! Zone Five, is where it is! Like, you take the tube all the way to the end, and then you take a bus, and then you walk, is where it is!
But like I said: worth it. Because it was hard, but in a good way! After a 40-minute sweattastic flow class, we moved into practicing poses. The instructor, Jessica Oldfield, was flippin' incredible. It's amazing what can actually be done with the human body through practice and patience, and I truly found that inspiring. So hey - everyone starts somewhere, and who knows what my little headstand-that-could may lead to some day!
But until then, it was a good opportunity to work on some straight up humility. Because my first-ever attempt at pincha mayurasana, or forearm stand, was not pretty. No pictures exist, and I guarantee that's for the best. My shoulders need some real work, is all I can say. My handstand attempts were marginally better, but ohhhhh, the pincha.
But you know what? That's what's great about yoga: there is always somewhere to go. Things slowly become possible, and maybe someday I'll look back on pincha the way I do now with headstand and think, "It wasn't as bad as I thought."
I look forward to that day.