Learning to Fly

“If you make a rule [or tell yourself a story], be prepared to stand by it with conviction. Also be prepared to change it at any moment.” ~ Will Duprey

My brain is growing exponentially. I’ve been practicing yoga, mostly at home, for 11 years. I read about it, write about it, talk about it, practice it almost daily, and yet this teacher training is growing my practice and consciousness by leaps and bounds, and we’re only two weeks in to a 12 week program. Today Will Duprey, one of my teachers, taught us to fly by grounding us.

For almost 90 minutes we practiced a vigorous standing practice. We came into Utkatasana (chair pose) and held, and held, and held. We followed that up with Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle), Trikonasana (triangle), and Anjaneyasana (low lunge). And repeat, and repeat, and repeat. I thought we were just tiring out our bodies to prepare for final relaxation.

After grounding us, Will asked us to lightly assist one another to fly into hand stand. My body seized up. “I can’t do hand stand,” I thought. Even assisted I’ve never done hand stand. My arms just aren’t strong enough. I’m not coordinated enough to do hand stand. The fictions we tell ourselves.

There was no end to the panicky voice in the back of my mind, but I had no choice. I had to at least assist my classmate to help her get into hand stand. Watching her fly with ease (she’d never been able to do hand stand either) I gave it a whirl, and I found that my arms actually aren’t weak. I am coordinated enough, and I can fly. Truth is indeed stranger, and more powerful, than fiction.