Headstands and Humility
“Can I help you with that?” “No! I can do it myself. I don’t need any help!” This is an interaction between myself and my 7 year-old daughter (7 going on 17, but that’s another story). She’s fiercely independent and if she isn’t able to do something, she will, by hook or by crook, figure out how to do it and end up doing it pretty well. She really does remind me of myself. But what her actions also reflect back to me is my lack of humility. And nowhere has this been more evident for me than in my yoga practice. I’ve been doing this a long time, so physically I’m pretty adept. Or I was. Recently, by burying various emotional issues in my body, I’d become a chiropractor’s dream and yoga postures that used to be like second nature are now completely off the menu. My ego really struggles with this. One such asana (yoga position) is a simple headstand. I know there are many people who can’t do a headstand, whether they’re newbies or experienced practitioners. For my ego, that’s not the point. I can’t do one and I could before. Actually, what my ego wants to write is not that I can’t do one, rather that I shouldn’t do one. (The difference is semantics and yet I feel the need to say it). It makes me think of other changes that we have no control over, even though we might try. Aging is one. Since I shaved my head, most people think I’m in my late twenties. That works for me, given that I’m 40. But I know when I was 39, and someone dared say that I was in my “forties”, I definitely felt a twinge of annoyance. We live in a culture where there is so much emphasis placed on youth, whether it’s how we look or how we feel. My failing headstand is part of this - but it also about realising that everything changes, even if it’s not about age. I realise that when you can no longer do something you used to be able to do, it’s not about berating yourself, rather to bring attention and awareness to an area of your life that may have been on autopilot. It’s not about holding on, rather about rediscovering yourself.
And now that my yoga practice has changed, I am amazed at what I see in myself and the way I do things. It was an area of my life I didn’t give much attention to. It was just something I’d get up and do.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
Where else was I not paying attention? Where else was I on autopilot?
So pause and rediscover. Get mindful and conscious. And look at everything with brand new eyes.