You might find that going easy on yourself is the best way to do everything there is.

 

Yoga is neat because it gives us a way to see everything there is to see about ourselves. And inversions can be even more fun here – not because standing on your hands will change your life, but because we get to see even more clearly what happens in our minds, and our bodies, as we approach challenge.

So let’s look at handstands a bit. Sometimes our approach to this kind of challenge is to exit immediately. Do nothing. Child’s pose, and wait for the problem to pass. This is one approach, and sometimes it’s the one we need. But progress comes when we learn how to navigate more easily when things get tough. So now let’s look at what happens when we try.

Do you sometimes crash out of handstands, or fall over into a backbend? Keep jumping and jumping just to get up? Do you need a wall to make sure you stay safe? This is all pretty common, and it says a lot about one way we approach challenge. We go to war with it.

Here, if you’re falling out of handstands, jumping, or launching directly into a wall, I would guess you’re using a little too much force to get yourself up. This is completely understandable. You want to get there.

But this kind of force has a way of getting one part of your body working against the strength of another. And when you’re trying to get into handstands, it’s your lower body working against your upper body – the strength of your thighs working against your shoulders and wrists. This tires you out faster, and opens you to aggravation and injury. It also has you working harder than you need to accomplish something that doesn’t need to be hard. Which makes it more difficult, or even impossible, to do things that are Really hard.

It’s also why a wall is always needed, if our strategy is using force to overcome resistance. Of course

 

We’re the only animal out there that works harder than needed to do everything we do.
I think we can find a better way.

 

I’d go to your natural movement practice here. First, look at moving nicely, by not using force against resistance in your own body. And second, look at moving naturally. Soft, or bracing for challenge? Energy moving, or blocked? From your middle, or from a swinging leg? Good body position, or unbalanced? Whole body, or some parts disconnected? This will give you a good place to begin.

Yoga is really all pretty simple. It’s life that gets complicated. So we need to practice in yoga what we want in our life. We don’t need to add stress, we need to release it. We don’t need to ignore how we feel and keep believing that feeling good is for vacation. We need to follow how we feel as our guide, and believe that feeling good is our best way to get where we want to go. We don’t need to isolate one part of us from another. We need to connect, unblock our energy, and become more usable to ourselves.

 

We can trade stress, struggle, and war
for ease, harmony, and peace.
And we can accomplish far more, this way.

 

So standing on your hands won’t change your life. But learning to release stress and move more easily in your life – especially when things get tough – changes everything.

-by Mike

 

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