Taking the Risk

Today I fell out of a yoga posture.

That in and of itself is not a huge statement so let me give you some background.

I’m scared of falling on my head.  It took me a long time to kick up into a handstand because I was afraid my arms wouldn’t hold me and I would break my neck.  Maybe it sounds crazy, but to me it was a real concern.  I still work handstands and some arm-balances near a wall because I’m still nervous about flipping over backwards.

Fairly recently I’ve been transitioning from headstand into a forearm balance into scorpion pose without a wall and only when I’ve been feeling very strong and steady.  I’ve been feeling less fear about balancing away from the wall and more faith in my own strength.

So today, while I was making the transition into scorpion I got a little off-balance and fell out of the posture.  Nothing major, I just kinda rolled onto my shoulder and off to the side.  I was really relaxed when it happened and it didn’t freak me out or scare me or even surprise me.  It just kinda happened.  I made the decision that I was a little unfocused so I tried it again with the wall (as more of a mental steadier) and balanced it just fine.

But that’s the whole thing.  I was ready for it.

If that fall had happened while I was still really scared of gravity’s effect on me while I was upside-down, or if someone else had forced me into it when I wasn’t ready (one of the reasons I disagree with instructors doing hands-on adjustments on students), my experience with the fall would have been completely different.  It may have made me more scared of the posture, I may have been less trusting of my body, it certainly would not have been a positive experience.

My lesson of the day was that risk is not so scary when you are ready for it.

Translate that into life.  When you take a risk when you are not feeling right about something or when someone else is forcing you into it, there is a lot of fear.  Fear you’ll make the wrong decision, fear of failure, distrust.  This can be many things, buying a new car, buying a house, getting married, even buying a pair of shoes!  But think about it.  If you are excited about the risk, if you are fired up about the idea of it, if it makes you feel great, maybe there is that anticipation that feels a bit scary, but if you take that “risk” with the absolute honest feeling of trust behind it, with the knowing about how much it’s going to be a positive thing in your life, the experience will be a good one no matter what.

Some people say “feel the fear and do it anyway.”  I understand that, but I also believe that there is a process involved in getting outside of your comfort zone in a way that still makes you feel good.  So next time you are asking yourself whether you should “take the risk or not” see how that risk makes you feel.  Do you feel scared and fearful and have a bad feeling in your gut?  Or do you feel excited and nervous and anticipatory about the unknown but ultimately positive?

I may have a bit of a bruised ego and a little mat-burn on my shoulder, but I can’t wait to get into the yoga room and risk it again.

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