Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's OK if your shoes aren't doing it...

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine posted the following You Tube video on Facebook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tdylQeg5B9I  Entitled The Tragedy of First Position, an adorable toddler ballerina becomes so consumed by trying to get her feet in first position that she misses the entire rest of the dance.  Funny how something as simple as a You Tube video can spark an epiphany.  "Aha!", I thought.  This is what's wrong with my yoga practice!  Let me explain...

I suck at handstands.  Actually, that's not entirely true.  I have a lovely handstand~ my shoulder platform is strong and stable, my core muscles are engaged, my joints are stacked, I press up confidently through the balls of my feet (the perfect 'floint' as Tracey Rich and Ganga White dub it) and gently massage the pads of my fingers into my sturdy Manduka mat.  I am beautifully balanced.  Until, that is, I move away from the wall.  And this has been my challenge for literally years.  Without the wall, my handstand never really gets off the ground.  It just doesn't make any sense to me.  Afterall, I have instructed countless students into successful handstands.  I have a strong, graceful practice of my own.  I do a mean headstand.  I can sit still and peacefully in a lengthy meditation.  I can do pincha and eka pada koundinyasana and flying pigeon and even mayurasana for goodness' sake, but I can't stick a darn handstand in the center of the room?  Seriously?  (A brief pause to apologize to my non-yogi readers who have absolutely no idea what they just read.  It suffices to say these are challenging poses). 

I know what you're thinking...'it's just fear holding you back'.  Well, OK, yeah, I don't like falling or making a spectacle of myself.  That said, I have lived alone in NYC.  I went to a midnight showing of Silence of the Lambs and walked home to an empty dorm room.  I moved across the country at age 25 with no place to live, no plan, and no job.  I have had 4 root canals and zip-lined, and now, despite terrible national success statistics, I am actually getting married and believe wholeheartedly that it is forever.  So, yes, I am cautious.  But fearful?  Not so much. 

You may also be thinking 'just go practice with so-and-so' or 'practice it on the beach' or 'just cartwheel out of it if you fumble' or 'visualize yourself doing it'.  Yep.  Tried all of that.  Short of hiring a hypnotist (and trust me, I have considered it), I feel as though I have tried everything.  And just my luck...handstand has become an incredibly popular pose in recent years in LA yoga classes.  I have become so angry and frustrated with myself over this pose that I have actually become sort of an anti-handstander.  Maybe it's like surfing:  it looks super cool when other people do it, but I just don't want to stand up on that thing with waves crashing over me.  My obsession with not being able to conquer this pose had actually begun to chip away at my confidence so badly that I was no longer enjoying practicing yoga at all.  I forgot about all that I could do and lamented constantly about what I cannot yet do.  The very discipline that always made me feel better suddenly made me nothing but sad and irritated.  I had lost the rest of the dance.  Until I saw that beautiful You Tube video...

I hope that little girl is still dancing.  And I still hope that one day I will magically float up into the perfect, wall-less handstand.  I am an optimistic girl.  After viewing that video, though, I thought, maybe it's ok that I need the wall.  Afterall, it's stable and helpful and supportive--who doesn't need more of that in life?  Maybe it's ok if everything is not all Virgo-perfect all the time.  Maybe not being able to get this pose is my lesson.  Maybe it's ok that my epitaph someday reads, "Lived a helluva great life.  Spent time with friends and family and animals.  But never did stick that handstand."  And maybe, in those immortal words of that random You Tube dance teacher, "It's OK if your shoes aren't doing it."  Words to live by indeed.

4 comments:

JuJu said...

You are an amazing yogini, goddess, writer, and friend...and your shoes are fabulously moving in a beautiful authentic dance! xoxo

Genevieve Fischer said...

oh, juju, thank you my sweet friend! xxoo

Susan said...

I LOVE your posts. The perfection is in the power of the authenticity of the imperfection. I needed to see that YouTube video and I needed to read your post today. Everything happens right on time. I've always loved you as my niece, but the more I reacquaint myself with you as adults the more I love you for exactly the woman you've become! Thanks for your authentic and inspiring posts! If we did everything perfectly as fast as we wanted to it wouldn't be so special when we mastered things, thanks for that reminder. The older I get the more I admit how little I know and how humbled I am and that's really good. For me, today..... baby steps in the areas I need to learn. Thank you! xo

JL said...

this is such a beautiful, honest post. miss you, my friend! xoxo

Post a Comment

 
Simply Yours Designs Cute Blogger Templates