Why do we practice going upside down? It’s not easy, it is scary, and it’s a long, slow journey to success. So why do we do it? Well, we do it because it’s hard. Yoga is a beautiful thing. It’s an art that focuses on the journey, not the outcome. Not saying that others don’t, but this one is known for that.
Inversions are tricky. Maybe we’re able to master a headstand, but we can’t go into a tripod headstand, forearm stand, handstand or any variation of anything else. The most obvious reason is simple: it’s because we can’t find the balance.
Now, the reason why we can’t find that balance is a whole different topic. Gaps in practice, flexibility issues, strength issues, impatience can all contribute to a tumble or an inability to even balance standing upright. We’ll talk about that someday, promise.
But what’s the benefit of incorporating inversions into your practice? What happens when we work through our individual journey of an upside-down balance practice?
We start to find the balance.
And not just on the mat.
The most immediate benefit will be in thinking. Quite literally we get to see the world from a different view. And that matters. Changing our perspective helps our brain work. If I find that I’m struggling with writing or creativity, upside-down I go!
If we’re in a headstand, one of my favorite places to be, we are seeing the world flipped. We are taking in all sorts of information differently. We’re using different parts of our brain. Maybe it’s just my own desire to see things differently, but since incorporating inversions into my life I can’t help but watch my perspective change. I want to go upside-down and see things differently. When I’m faced with problems, I want to go upside-down and see if when my arms and core are shaking, I have a revelation.
And sometimes I do!
But of course, that’s not the only change. The biggest thing that happened to me was the sudden realization that my life was not balanced. I spent so many hours a week working on my balance practice only to step off the mat into a life that was out of balance. It was wobbly.
This is the point of this post and an absolutely beautiful part of a strong yoga practice. We become balanced in our life. If we allow yoga and the spirit of yoga into our life and not just on our mat, we will notice a tremendous change. Most of our lives are not balanced. We are not balancing physical health, mental health, emotional health with each other. In fact, some of us might not be balancing any of them. We might just be a heaping pile of stress. For you I say this: go upside-down. Take a look at your life from another perspective.
When we’re in an inversion, whether it’s forward fold or scorpion, we realize one very important thing: If we aren’t balanced, we’ll fall.
And life is no different.
It’s just a slower fall.
We don’t exercise, we don’t eat right, we don’t drink enough water, and we drink too much or engage in other unhealthy habits. Our body will give out.
We don’t take time to relax, we don’t exercise our mind, we don’t read, we don’t engage in therapy if we need it, we don’t work through our roadblocks. Our mind will dull and die.
We don’t work through forgiveness, we don’t laugh often, we don’t let anger go, we don’t choose relationships (romantic and otherwise) that aren’t toxic. Our heart wilts.
This all seems dramatic, but we if we don’t take care of ourselves, even with the excuse “it’s temporary” we will fall.
I believe that we must take care of ourselves today because we won’t tomorrow. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m grieving, suffering from an injury, having a bad day, or absolutely ecstatic about something I will continue to care for myself. It’s my body, my mind, my heart and I will take care of it. It’s a conscious choice and it’s not always an easy one.
It means waking up early when I’m tired to go exercise. It means sitting myself down when my mind is racing and meditating. It means writing when I feel there’s nothing inside of me. It means putting my feet up for twenty minutes when I know there’s something to do.
I understand that there’s always a reason not to engage in something. Always. You moved, you’re sick, you don’t want, you are balancing something out. But the point is that it’s never really about you, is it? It’s about what’s stopping you from doing something.
Try rephrasing it with I statements. “I don’t want to put in the effort right now.” “I don’t want to struggle with this.” “I don’t want to be tired.” Because, honestly, that is what the case is. We don’t want to find a balance because we think we are.
This sounds harsh, right? I know, but I’ve been there. I’ve been at a point where I just didn’t honestly care enough to prioritize everything at once. I didn’t want to put in the work necessary to find and then maintain a healthy balance of everything in my life.
Every day we have choices. Every hour we have choices. We can choose to prioritize these hard things or we can choose to continue on with the way we are doing things. Ultimately, it’s up to you to find the balance in your life. We each have our own, perfect balance. Even though we might never find it (because it’s always changing) we can definitely find a healthy balancing act in our lives.
Think about the three mind, body, and heart. How can you balance the three?
Try going upside-down. Try changing your perspective. Try finding a healthier way of living. Try finding a new balance in your life.