Despite the fact that I’ve been practicing yoga for about 15 years, and habitually go upside down, the words Urdhva Danurasana send waves of fear down my not-as-flexible-as-I’d-like spine.
In class, when my teachers would say those magic words, “Now, we are going into Urdhva Danurasana . . .” I’d immediately look for blocks, ankles or anything that would assist me through the pose and relieve my stress. I clung to friends’ ankles like they were anchors, keeping me from floating away in a sea of self-doubt.
But today was different. WAY different. Practicing on my own, Chris Brown blaring on my iPod, I was feeling good. I had no real plan for my practice; I was simply feeling my way through, my mind following wherever my body took me.
Next thing I knew, I was on my back, hands in position for Urdhva. I said to myself, “Huh. How’d I get here?”
As placed my hands in the proper position, I didn’t freak out because my palms weren’t firmly planted on the mat. I just noted it and mentally moved on.
I sucked in my stomach, planted my shoulder blades on my back, tucked my tailbone and took a big breath. “I’ll just go to the crown of my head and pause, ” I told myself because that’s what I always do. Funny thing was, I bypassed that stop and went straight up, because it felt good.
No fear. No self doubt. No hesitation.
I must have stayed up there for 10 breaths, marveling not at what my body could do, but at the mental breakthrough. I had gotten up in my most dreaded pose, no fuss, no muss and no stress.
And that, my friends, is the yoga of yoga.