Upside Down: Blue Yoga Mat by Tracy Fitzwater

TracyYou know it’s going to be an interesting yoga practice when you walk into the studio, and the word “inversion” is mentioned, as in “By the way, we’re going to be doing inversions today.” Gulp.

I had stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to try a noon power class. Normally, I’m in the fitness kickboxing class on the CageworX side during that time. No big deal, I thought. I figured I could do a fifty minute practice, knowing that the possibility of having some move come up that would be challenging was inevitable. I mean, I’ve spent at least two years avoiding power classes, mostly because of the idea of power! So, when Jenny mentioned inversions, I didn’t run away. It wasn’t exactly a “bring it on” moment, but I proceeded into the studio anyway.

Things were going along well, and then we moved into squats. Squats, for me, require a block. I didn’t even think the squats were working us into the inversions; I was just wishing for more cooperative hip flexors. Jenny moved us into crow pose. I remember actually doing this as a kid, but the last time this came up in a class, I passed. And I was unable to coax my reluctant body into crow this time, too. We talked about letting go of what just happened, or what didn’t happen, the yoga version of shake it off. I let it go – it isn’t worth it to take some of this stuff personally!

Headstands were next. I’ve never done a headstand in my entire life, but at least I was good at finding the top of my head. I practiced cradling the top of my head in my hands, which is a start. Two years ago, I would have skipped that totally! I was in awe of the people in the class who were able to do a headstand, in fact, I was happy to be in the same room with them! It was amazing to see them balanced and inverted.

Jenny explained an inversion is when your head is below your heart – think downward dog and standing forward bend. Hey, I can do those. If one of the benefits of inversions is building confidence, I know this is true. I used to dread downward dog, but as my arms and core grew stronger, I got better at this inversion. Another good thing about inversions is the balance you develop, as well as literally seeing the world from a different perspective – upside down. These aren’t small things, when you think about it.

What did I get out of this? I am willing to venture out of my comfort zone of the basics class. I don’t mind trying new things, and I’ve decided that beating myself up for not being able to complete a pose is ok. Will I ever actually complete a headstand? At this point, that is unknown, but crow is probably in my future. Upside down…fear not! But I did step into CageworX, just in time for plank – something I can do.