Years ago, our pastor was teaching from Genesis. He made a comment that I don’t think I will ever forget. “Short-cuts in life never get you to where you really want to go.”
This month, handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana: Downward Facing Tree Pose) is the pose I chose to build up to in the yoga series. I intentionally chose Handstands for several reasons. First, because handstands are a really simple to see the reality of the above statement. Even if someone is a natural born gymnast, to press up and hold the pose, at some point they had to practice holding the pose to improve their strength and balance to hold them there. For some of us, we have done them before, but it may have been a long time ago, or never slow and always with a kick. Maybe you never have been in a handstand. If either is the case, then we have to begin by practicing and developing the strength, courage, and balance to get there. If you do decide to force it, there is a good chance you could injure yourself… and then it will be even longer to find a handstand.
Handstands are also energizing and calming. Anytime you go upside down, it is a great perspective changer. And they take some bravery.
Handstands, while fun and exciting to work toward, are not a necessary component to living a purpose-driven life. However, we do have to be brave, show courage, consistency and practice in other parts of life to reach our full potential, let go of habits that we have clung to, and not give up when the work is hard.
So… as you unroll your mat with the determination to build the strength necessary… just in case you might someday, want to press into a handstand. Then use the time to notice your response to the hard parts of your yoga practice. Enjoy the moments of success as you find you can learn to balance on your tiptoes—while your other leg is in the air! You might start to realize that the frustration isn’t so great if you quit worrying about your end goal, and just practice on what is asked of you for today.
What “real life” stuff takes the most patience and consistency for you to continue showing up for?