Today I hung upside down — a bat in a line of other bats. It was my first time doing this pose (see picture on right although I didn’t look quite as poised as this woman, and also, not quite as happy as the bat on the left). Still, I was thrilled. I was also terrified. As I hung there, after my very gracious yoga teacher for this class — Anne Underwood — helped me jump, pull myself up and climb into this inversion — I felt waves of panic. What if I fell and broke my neck? What if the ropes didn’t hold? What if I just freaked out in front of everybody?
As usual, I countered the fear by telling myself, “breathe, breathe, breathe.” Each asana, each breath, is a continual way to come home to my body, and to re-program how I inhabit my own body.
This month, I’m doing YoMo through the Yoga Center of Lawrence , a commitment to do yoga everyday through January. A few days ago, when I had a virus, I wondered if a prolonged time in corpse pose would count (“Hell, yes,” said Kelley), and some days I feel myself stretching, reaching, almost soaring through Sun Salutation. Often it’s just the old struggle: how to try my hardest without putting so much effort into trying that I make the pose hard. Today, at least, I found a way to hang. And in the hanging, there was no such thing as trying too hard or not hard enough. There was just the support of the wall, ropes, and Anne, the strength of my body, and the beauty of gravity. The hard part was surrendering to it all. Now that I’m upright, I want to do it all over again.