Falling On Your Asana

It’s inevitable. If you do physical yoga, you are going to fall eventually. Probably more than once. You probably won’t hurt yourself seriously.  You probably won’t break a tooth. You probably will look a little ridiculous.  It’s ok.  It’s so ok.

When I first started yoga, I took it all so seriously.  I wouldn’t go to public classes for fear that I would look dumb because I couldn’t do the poses.  When I finally got up the nerve to take a class, I hid in the back, as far back as I could and tried hard not to make eye contact with anyone before, during, or after class.  Time passed and I got more comfortable with the idea of doing yoga with other people, but I was still afraid to screw up or fall.

It’s interesting, huh?  I mean, really, there are a lot of yoga poses that look kind of silly anyway if you think about them from the standpoint of typical body movements.   Seriously, tell me that halasana, kurmasana, and karnapidasana aren’t a little goofy looking.

Uh huh. I don’t think you can.  Try, if you will, to imagine anyone taking these body positions for anything besides a yoga class and what the reactions of observers would be.  Yoga asana is a little bit like sex in this way.  It’s beautiful to see because of what it represents, but from a body-only perspective sometimes it looks kind of (or much, depending) funny.

So, there I am in a yoga class and I’m contorting my body into these odd situations, but I’m worrying about falling over.  Hmm…  Over time, I just had to get over it.  I stopped trying to pretend like I didn’t just stumble or fall.  I stopped avoiding poses that I thought I might fall over in.  I embraced my inner Chevy Chase and got comfortable with the fall.  Now, when I fall over, sometimes quite spectacularly, I snort a little, reassure anyone who asks that I’m fine, and carry on.  This attitude lets me be a little bit less serious about my asana.  I try to have a little fun with it and enjoy the playtime.  Yes, it can be a time of meditation and it should be a time of mindfulness, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a time of joy, trying new things, and falling/failing with a grin.

It’s not quite fall yet, but you are, in fact, welcome to fall!




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