Confidence, trust and fear
This year’s early spring in Middle America might lead us to believe Mother Nature is a bit off-kilter. One day it’s cold and rainy, the next day it’s unseasonably warm. Perhaps we can relate to Mother Nature. I know I can. Sometimes the balancing act of my life looks and feels more like severe weather…electric outbursts and pouring tears, interspersed with moments of quiet and calm, reminiscent of the lull after a Midwestern thunderstorm.
What do we turn to when the storm sirens are blaring? For many of us, there’s nothing like a solid yoga and mindfulness practice to keep us grounded and balanced. Asana, pranayama and meditation are tethers that can stop us from flying off to Oz with the next passing tornado. If unpredictable weather, challenges at home, or too many deadlines at work have you hanging on for dear life, it’s a great time to try standing on one foot, on your hands, or on your head.
What does a yoga pose have to do with real life? Quite a bit, as it turns out. What we learn and cultivate on our yoga mats is simply a metaphor for our lives.
Think about what it’s like attempting to stand on our head in sirsasana, or headstand pose. First, we have to be brave enough to even try – confidence. Then there’s the uncertainty of figuring out where we are in space while upside down – trust. And once we’re up, unless we’re Dharma Mittra, who can stand on his head, on a manhole cover in the middle of a New York City street—with no hands, there’s the ensuing wobbliness and danger of toppling over – fear. No matter how you slice it, it’s a tricky proposition.
So why even do it? We attempt headstand, or any yoga pose, because the pay off is worth it, because it teaches us to believe in ourselves. We prove that no matter how disoriented we may be, we can bring it back to center. We show ourselves that we can look fear in the face and say, “Whatever!” No matter how many times we fall, we stare down some scary demons on the way up, and that’s empowering.
So the next time some serious stormy weather comes our way, let’s roll out our mat, and practice our balancing act.