Inversion Aversion

Yoga Sutra Now studio

 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to shoot two episodes for a new yoga show on Veria Living Television (premieres on September 17th) thanks to my friend Bex at Bexlife.com. “Yoga Sutra Now” with Jai Sugrim is pretty unique in that it combines the physical asana practice with a master class in understanding the origins of each pose, movement, breathing technique, nutritional habits, and meditation practice as well as our thought processes. I had the chance to be a student in Jai’s class for the show.

I’m fairly confident in my yoga practice. I’ve been practicing on and off for over ten years. But as the day of the shoot came closer, I started freaking out. I hadn’t practiced yoga since my knee surgery. Was I really going to be able to confidently practice and move in and out of the poses? In preparation, I went to two classes to freshen up my practice and it felt great. I could feel the length and space return to my body and the space between my ribs literally expand.

 

 

The experience? Beyond what I was expecting. I thought that I was just going to show up and do some yoga. I know that it sounds hokey but it was more than that. In part, it was because the focus of both episodes really resonated with me – “Conscious Eating” and “Breaking Free of Negative Thoughts” – both are areas that I’ve been working on (struggling with?) lately.

But I was also forced to face one of my biggest fears – arm stands and inversions. I’ve never felt confident doing arm stands (aside from crow) and never have felt comfortable in an inversion (which is also why I loved Ilene’s post from last week). All morning, I had crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t have to do either of these.

Usually in class, I get away with doing headstand or armstand prep. I don’t really try because, frankly, I’m scared that I won’t be able to do it and I’m scared that I will be able to do it. A number of doubts tend to flood my mind – I’m not strong enough, I’m not flexible enough, or I’m going to fall down on top of someone, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. Inversions make you face your fears like nothing else so it was the perfect vehicle to talk about “Breaking Free of Negative Thoughts” during the second episode we taped.

 

In the green room

 

People – I did my first ever forearm stand and it’s taped for a TV show. It was very well assisted with a strap around my elbows to keep my arms in the right place and with Jai catching and helping me up into the pose. I don’t care. I did it. it was very disorienting being upside down. I have no sense of my body’s direction or placement in space so I have a hard time adjusting my balance.

As soon as I was upside down, I could feel the fear explode in my body – pooling in my head and face like my blood and causing my legs to tense up. But then Jai reminded me to breathe (duh) and to zip my legs together. Once I did that, my body felt lighter and the pose felt easier. I could feel my whole body lengthen and reach up towards the ceiling. I scissored-kicked my legs back down. When I landed right-side up on the ground, I could feel that nervous giggle escape from my mouth.

 

Me and Jai

 

I was initially drawn to yoga purely for its health and physical benefits. My first experience with yoga was a “Yoga for Runners” class through New York Road Runners Club. The class was taught by Beryl Bender Birch and her husband Thom was held in a school gym on the Upper East Side. Lately, I have been relishing and thriving in my yoga practice – the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the practice.

I’m not sure what it is but I just feel very connected to it. It feels like it’s what I need right now and that it may provide me with some of the tools and insights that I’ve been striving for in my attempt to feel more present, purposeful and connected. Thoughts of Yoga Teacher Training have flitted through my head lately after following along on some other folks’ journey, especially Whitney over ate Live, Run, Love, Yoga. If you haven’t read her posts, I encourage you to do so. It’s definitely planted some seeds in my mind.

As I think about the possibility of Yoga Teacher Training, I feel that same fear start to bubble up in my stomach. It’s the absolute antithesis of what I “planned” on doing with my life, my Type A personality and overachieving/scientific sensibility. Maybe that’s one reason to consider it?

Do you practice yoga? Do you practice for the physical/health benefits or is there something more that drives your practice? What has your experience been?

{Linking up with Shell at Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out}

 Here’s a sneak peak at the show which premieres on September 17th!

Comments

    • admin says

      Thanks Shell! I’m so grateful for the experience. And with the mountain scenery, I could pretend that I was someplace as beautiful as Wanderlust!

    • admin says

      Seriously, he said that to me and I was like, “oh, I’m not breathing?” and it was totally making everything harder…obviously. It was pretty cool too to see what goes into filming a TV show like that and everything that’s involved. It’s fascinating!

    • admin says

      Yes! You are going to get better soon and you’re doing great. What I love about yoga is that you modify the practice for you – that it’s not about doing the craziest pose but understanding your limits and working within and pushing against the boundaries of those limits.

    • admin says

      It’s funny but the first couple of times that I started practicing again, it felt great but I was reluctant to admit that it felt good and right. But, for once, I am trying to listen more to my body (trying…) and ignore the voices in my head that tell me otherwise. Luck to both of us as we tred this path?

    • admin says

      hee hee. I’m totally considering it and I think I’m going to go to a couple of info sessions and talk to a few more people. I’ll keep you posted but I’d do it if you do it too!

    • admin says

      Thank you Bex for connecting me. I honestly wasn’t expecting huge insights to come out of this experience. I guess it just means that this was what I was meant to do that day and at this moment.

  1. says

    What an amazing experience for you. So happy you were able to break free of that fear. I say go for the yoga instructor class – the twists and turns that life makes continue to amaze me. You never know what is going to happen!

    • admin says

      It’s so true – the twists and turns are pretty amazing. I’m typically very Type A and have everything planned out but lately have been willing to open myself up more to opportunities that arise and different paths that I might not have normally considered. It’s still scary but I think that I’m going to find our more about the teacher training class.

    • admin says

      It’s funny because I think that this is the first time that I had a breakthrough on the mat (aside from a purely physical accomplishment) that has translated to life off the mat. Normally, yoga has been very much about the pure physical practice and sweat. I would love to pick your brain more about YTT.

    • admin says

      It was pretty amazing mostly because I wasn’t expecting anything like that. For me, yoga has been all about the physical practice and sweat – not the spiritual, emotional or mental – so I wasn’t quite sure what hit me! But am very thankful for it.

  2. says

    This is soooo AWESOME!!! I am actually starting yoga back up next week. Not only does my body need it but my mind and soul too. I never feel better than when I am done with a yoga class. It makes me feel like I can take on anything.
    I can’t wait to watch you!!
    P.S. That video was amazing!!
    P.P.S. Do it!!! Get your training!!! You were meant for this!!!
    Kristen recently posted..Shopping With A TweenMy Profile

    • admin says

      It’s true. I leave a yoga class and my mind feels quieter. I think that the end of summer/beginning of the school year requires more yoga for all of us!

      Thank you for your vote of confidence. Who knows what will happen but I’m grateful to have had this experience. I’m going to talk to a few more people to pick their brains and go to some info sessions. I’m more interested in yoga teacher training to deepen my practice. We’ll see!!

    • admin says

      Thanks Ericka! It was a pretty cool experience and I’m so glad that I did. There’s something about facing your fears that’s really invigorating.

  3. says

    OMG! So so cool! That is awesome that you were in a video. I’m so proud of you for doing forearm. I just tackled this one myself and it does feel absolutely amazing!! I say go for teacher training, it’s incredible and will change your life! Thanks for mentioning me and linking back too! Much appreciated!
    Whitney @LiveRunLoveYoga recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday!My Profile

    • admin says

      Thank YOU. Honestly Whitney, I know that I’ve said this to you before but I’ve really loved following your journey through YTT. I think that it was your post about the hip openers that did me in. I’m going to check out a few YTT programs and talk to a few people. More than anything. I’m really interested in it as a way to deepen and strengthen my practice. My forearm stand wasn’t pretty and I was up for about 2 seconds but it was a glorious 2 seconds :-)

  4. says

    So, so cool! I love that you were in the show, first off. Then I love that you nailed the pose and kicked your fear out the door during the show! So awesome. Sounds like you are definitely being pulled in a certain direction.

    I have been a yoga slacker over the summer, mostly b/c getting to class while having the kids home was nearly impossible. I have missed it, but I think more for the mental aspect than anything else, which I find interesting.
    misszippy recently posted..What I’m loving right nowMy Profile

    • admin says

      Thank you! When Jai mentioned that we would be doing forearm stand, I could feel myself getting ready to back out or make excuses. It’s amazing what a little peer pressure and TV cameras will do to you :-)

      Yes, having the kids around does make it tricky to get out of the house and to a yoga class. I feel like the fall is a perfect time to reset and get back into our practice – probably something we all need with the crazies of back-to-school!

    • admin says

      Thank you! I was pretty damn close to backing out of doing it but I’m glad that I didn’t. I started doing yoga because I was running so much and felt so stiff and inflexible. Just saying…

    • admin says

      Those mental boundaries can be so tricky sometimes, no? Jai mentioned a few things about how our fears and self-doubt and I realized that that was exactly what was holding me back, not only in yoga but in other areas of my life. But you’re right – I felt so great afterwards. Thank you!

  5. says

    OMG! This is so cool, Christine!!!!! I knew Bex was in the city filming “something” but had no idea what it was =) So awesome that you were a part of it…and congrats on the inversion!! I’ve done yoga only a handful of times in my life…and loved the way I felt after. I keep telling myself that I need to find more time to start incorporating more yoga into my daily/weekly routine.
    PS. I think you should 100% go for yoga teacher training!!!!
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..Pumpkin – Boy or Girl??My Profile

    • admin says

      Thanks Michele! I too love the way that yoga makes me feel – it’s different from running or lifting or swimming but is definitely something that my body craves sometimes. I’m going to look into yoga teacher training. It’s fun and exciting to think about.

  6. says

    This sounds like a life-changing experience for you. I enjoyed reading this and love to read about yoga. I really, really want to get more into it and incorporate it more into my lifestyle. I’m so intrigued by the different poses and the whole belief system. I know it would be a practice I can benefit from, I just need to find the time to really commit. Thanks for writing this. Very inspirational.
    Renisha Renewed recently posted..Video: I’m Starring in a Film!My Profile

    • admin says

      Thank you Renisha and I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post. I was initially drawn to yoga strictly for the physical aspects of it and, frankly, to sweat. But now, I’m so much more curious about the more philosophical and spiritual aspects which is why I think that I’m considering yoga teacher training. That and I feel like I want to push my practice a bit which I know that I won’t do by myself and just going to classes.

      There are some great yoga DVDs and online yoga classes (i.e. Gaiam TV and yogolo) but I would definitely say that nothing beats being in an actual class, especially if you are just starting out. Many studios will also have beginner workshops and the like. I’d love to hear if you do start to practice yoga more and how it goes.

    • admin says

      Dude, he’s totally gumby. I didn’t really get to see him practice much while we were shooting so when I watched the video, I had no idea. Seriously ridiculous. And thank you. It’s hard and scary. It wasn’t pretty and I was up for about 2 seconds but hell, I will take those 2 seconds.

    • admin says

      Thanks Jess! I’m glad that they got it on tape too but terrified at the same time. I’m not sure I can bring myself to watch it when it airs!

  7. says

    That sounds amazing! Good for you! I’ve have really enjoyed the yoga classes I’ve attended. It’s actually something I’d like to do on a regular basis, but can’t ever seem to make the time.
    Adrienne recently posted..My Inner ChildMy Profile

    • admin says

      Thank you Adrienne! I completely agree – it is hard to make the classes. They always seem to be scheduled at inconvenient times or I have to do a bit of juggling to make sure that I can get there.

  8. says

    Christine –
    I love reading about your journey – you have become my inspiration. After I get my BE Strong challenge further under way I would love to interview you about your process. What works, what doesn’t, how to keep going when you feel stuck, etc. I still haven’t signed up for a yoga class. Not sure what is holding me back.

    • admin says

      Awww, thank you so much! I just like being able to share my story and hearing from other people. I would love to be interviewed for your blog. Just shoot me an email.

      It can be intimidating to sign up for a yoga class. Maybe, if you can, try going at an off-time so that the class isn’t so crowded and you can get some more attention from the instructor. Or, you could always try a couple of yoga DVDs first to become familiar with some of the poses before going to a class.

Trackbacks

  1. […] for over a year (and counting), that I would rediscover my love for running over the year and that yoga would be what I need right now. Priorities and life circumstances shifted and changed and so did the focus of my […]

  2. […] many of you know, yoga is a key part of my fitness routine. I first started doing yoga as something to help improve my running. I figured that it would be a good way to work on my flexibility and breathing. Yoga also offers […]

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