“The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective.” ~~ Al Neuharth
(I got this pic from here)
You know, sometimes, we just need to go upside down. Seriously. It is said that if you spend a little bit of time upside every day, it’s one of the best things you can possibly do for yourself. Why? Well, for one thing, going upside has been shown to provide many health benefits, such as helping to regulate the endocrine system, boosting immunity, improving sleep, and calming the mind. And if your world feels crazy and chaotic, yoga theory says you can shift your perspective by turning things upside down (i.e., your body). Since life doesn’t always provide a right-side-up perspective, sometimes it’s a good idea to give our bodies that same perspective.
It can be scary at first, but there are a variety of inversions available for all bodies. Any pose that gets your heart or feet above your head is an inversion, so be creative. If you’re a seasoned yogi, maybe you regularly incorporate inversions such as Handstand or Headstand into your practice. If not, surely you’ve hung your head off the side of a bed or a couch at least once, right?
This week, we’ll be incorporating Pincha Mayurasana (also called Forearm Balance and Feathered Peacock Pose). Pincha Mayurasana is a challenging pose, and it requires strength, balance, awareness and patience. Many of us will be starting at the wall, doing a modified variation that will allow us to see face any fear of falling we may have. This pose doesn’t put any pressure on the head (like Headstand does), but it still provides all the benefits of being upside down. This pose is excellent practice for focusing our attention and focusing on our breath…both of which we should do whenever things get crazy outside of yoga class as well.
If you can’t make it to class this week, here’s a great link with detailed instructions, contraindications, beginner tips, and variations.
Personally, Pincha Mayurasana is one of my favorite inversions to do. Whenever I do this pose, I feel so strong! Once I kick up into it, I notice how strong my arms, shoulders, back and abdominals are…they are what keeps me up! I still need a wall, as I am not great yet with kicking up without using too much force. But once my legs are up, I am finally able to move both legs away from the wall and truly use the strength and balance of my body to keep myself up and steady. I certainly hope to get to a point soon where I can control my kicks so I don’t need that wall to help me anymore.
If you’re new to this pose (or any inversion, for that matter), expect to fall a few times while you’re learning. It takes time to get to know your body from the upside-down perspective. When you persevere in trying to achieve a variation of this pose that’s meant for YOUR body, eventually you’ll get there.
Make the choice to look at fear straight in the face, to stay present, and to go into the intensity of life.