Friday, June 09, 2006

Upside down, nothing looks quite the same

“An inversion refers to any posture or position that places the head below the heart. The reversal of gravity's effects helps to take pressure off the heart, decompress the spine, improve circulation, stimulate the endocrine system - and just make people feel good. …I use yoga as a tool for people to potentially change things in themselves, otherwise it is just exercise." Sydney Morning Herald Feb 10, 2005

I’ve been working with inversions quite a bit in my classes lately – and seeing all the emotions they bring up for students on the mat is very interesting! A lot of which holds us back in an inversion is fear – fear of not having the strength to hold ourselves upright, fear of falling, fear of the rush of blood to the head, and fear of trying something new. This isn’t a strange thing – it’s much more common that people realise! But trusting in yourself, working through the poses in ‘baby steps’, and giving yourself the time to work into and up to an inversion, can see them happen quite naturally. One of the things I love about teaching yoga is seeing students have what I refer to as a ‘light bulb’ moment – when they come into a bind, inversion, or challenging pose that they’ve been working on for a while. It just suddenly all ‘fits’ together and they get this glow in their face, their eyes light up, and they really sink into the pose. This is what yoga is about – being aware of your body, working through and opening up limitations in the body and mind, and exploring what it is that holds you back. The word yoga literally translates as meaning yoke or union – it’s not just about physical exercise, but goes deeper than that = it is a joining of body & mind, and ourselves with the wider community. By exploring what holds us back in poses is like holding a mirror up to our hearts and our relationships. Are you afraid of change? Are you having trouble believing in your own strength? This week, take a moment to look at your favourite pose and your least fave pose, inversion or other. And then perhaps take a few moments to try both out and really explore the feelings that both bring up – in body, and mind. Remember, without challenges, we grow stale and stop growing. Take a different view of the world – start with yourself, and enjoy. x

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