‘Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear’.
– George Addair
Rest your elbows shoulder-width apart.
Cup your hands over your head.
Rest the top of your head flat on your mat.
Walk forward until your spine is straight.
Slowly, pushing your weight forward by the gentle rocking of your hips, lift one leg up – and then the other.
Come into Sirasana – and just breathe.
It was but my very first day at the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course and already I was in for a shock. My heart must have stopped for a second as my mind tried to process again and again what the teachers had just instructed us to do – a supported headstand. Were we really supposed to attempt an inversion on our very first day? I felt far less than ready, and I was fearful. The very thought of being physically upside down was an intimidating one.
The anxiety induced from the very thought of balancing upside down is perhaps one that many can sympathise with. After all, our bipedal natures have made us not only physically but also mentally accustomed to supporting the weight of our bodies on our lower extremities, rather than with our upper body. But the most interesting thing was that on hindsight, I had realized that fear had creeped up on me way before I had even attempted the asana. Fear is a state-of-mind; it is not real but a mere idea that we conjure up in the deepest recesses of our imaginations. In other words, it is not the physical state of being upside down that is scary – but the conception of the thought that balancing on your head is scary that is truly what makes it terrifying.
Conquering fear is the key to overcoming most of the obstacles that we will face in life. In Yoga specifically, many a time we may find ourselves unable to get into more difficult asanas because we view them with trepidation. We cannot let our minds get the better of us, instead we have to use it to channel positive energy toward developing our mental strength, willpower and dedication into helping us accomplish anything that we set our minds to.
I have just completed my 3rd week of this very intensive course and I am pleased to say that I can now come into a headstand with little hesitation. Of course, my alignment is far from perfect and I still struggle with trying to shift more weight to my shoulders and keeping my spine straight due to a minor case of scoliosis, but I am proud of just how far I have come in this journey.
I believe that in life, as with in Yoga, it is always the mind over matter – and the breath over the mind. (Like Master Paalu once said! :))
We have nothing to fear but fear itself.