“Don’t worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” Rumi
It's not actually the poses themselves that make this workshop my favourite. Every time I begin the workshop, I ask all the participants to share a bit of info about themselves, and tell me why they came to the workshop and what they hope to get out of it. So often people share, sometimes hesitantly, that they have a lot of fear surrounding these poses, or that they feel overwhelmed at the challenge inversions present.
To say that I can relate would be a huge understatement. I used to be terrified of inversions, and remember watching yogis in classes I was attending, in sheer awe of their gravity-defying moves and wondering how I could ever possibly turn myself upside down with stability and balance, let alone confidence and joy. Kicking up into an inversion was impossible against the wall, and much more so in the middle of the room.
I'm not a natural at the physical aspects of this practice (nor the spiritual elements, let's be real...). I first came to the yoga mat physically weak, very stiff, and really out of shape. Inversions were the last thing on my mind. Eventually my body became strong and supple enough to start to flirt with inversions... but fear held me back. Fear that I would fall, hurt myself, look silly, or just be totally incapable held me back and I thought these poses would be forever impossible for me.
Slowly, though, my attitudes about myself began to change. I began to see all the things that I could do, rather than focus on the things I couldn't yet do. I saw how much progress I was already making, and developed confidence in myself that I'd never known before. Eventually, I realized that what I needed was not to avoid the things I feared, but to conquer them head on until I realized they couldn't stop me. So, I tried and I fell, over and over. I still fall over every day, multiple times... sometimes gracefully, other times not, and occasionally I land on one of my cats (they don't mind)! Every time I fall I get back up and I learn and evolve a little bit more.
These days, the poses I love the most are the ones that are the most challenging for me. Once I work on a pose enough that it's not so challenging, I fall in love with a new one. The beauty of yoga is that it's just a form of evolution, which is an ongoing process. I'll never be perfect, I'll never be finished, and that's one of the biggest reliefs I've ever known.
Anyway, back to the workshop - like I say, I love the poses but it's not what I love most about this workshop. It's seeing how in just three hours, the apprehensive and somewhat cautious faces who introduce themselves to the group and speak of fear and holding back, transform into smiling faces who feel empowered and successful. Self-consciousness turns into self-confidence, and my fellow yogis realize that for them, too, the impossible can become possible. It's truly a privilege to be trusted to facilitate this process for my students and I hope I do justice to this amazing practice that's transformed my life - I do my best to pay that blessing forward every day.
Here's some shots of the kickass yogis who came to share their good vibes. Much love to all!