As a kid I was never athletic. I mean NEVER. Maybe I took gymnastics for a year or two. That didn't last too long before my fears sank in. Namely, the fear of doing anything athletic. Especially in public. Normally I just avoided sports, competition, and sometime even the outdoors. I know it sounds pretty "blah", right? I admit it, it was. Being my "blah"-self, I simply called it “unathletic” and avoided such events. I just hated looking stupid, falling, or worse; I loathed being that person on the team who would miss the ball and lose the game.
Yet through the years I have expanded my horizons a bit, trying some different activities: pilates, running, spinning. However most of these interests were for the sake of a better figure, not so much for the sake of experience. So yoga seemed a great fit. No comparing, no competing. It’s just you and your mat. And anyone that knows me, knows I like my space. Giving yoga a chance, I wasn’t expecting to gain anything beyond some flexibility. However learning Yoga has been and continues to be an experience. I’m not quite practicing yoga on the Himalayan mountains, but ... learning from Tara Stiles I’m discovering to fully benefit from yoga, you’ve got to risk a bit.
As a kid I hated risks. I never did cartwheels or handstands. They scared me to death. At first I couldn't understand how some stuff in Yoga could be “so much fun.” After watching Tara effortlessly lift into handstands, forearm stands and all the other craziness she can do, I was eager to conquer these fears. Now through countless attempts, falls and bruises - I finally get it. Sadly I’m just now experiencing some of the joys of being a kid. Being upside down is fun! It’s fun, when it’s effortless. You should try it - going upside down. You might fall. No, you probably will fall. Maybe you'll get a few nice shiners in the name of conquering your fears. But when you let it, it just happens. That’s the fun in it. We don’t have to try so hard.
Yoga is a practice you can’t force into happening. Sometimes you have to risk a fall here and there to discover new depths and heights. It’s forced me to see where else I could risk. Most of us could benefit from risking a bit more. Simple risks like cooking for others, even if you're not Martha Stewart. Or risking big, like in relationships or vocation. We aren’t created to force life into happening, but we are created to risk a bit.
Maybe you already have conquered handstands. Maybe you can’t and want to give it a try (check out Tara's "Turn it upside down" video). And maybe you could care less about handstands or yoga, for that matter. Either way risks can be fun. They even can make you feel younger. So try a going upside down. Risk a bit in life. It can be scary at first. But you just might explore some new heights, even if you do fall.