The Yoga of Yoga

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.

Urdhva Danurasana
Urdhva D – Courtesy of

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.

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