How to Try—A Six Part Blog about Pushing Past Fears to Live a Bigger Life
By Kerri Davidson
(1,000 Ripples Video Link: https://youtu.be/_PIMkiEWCzs) (www.kerridavidson.com)
Part 2: Turn Your World Upside Down
I did my first headstand away from the wall in the middle of Times Square in New York City.
Every summer solstice, thousands of people gather on brightly colored mats in the middle of Times Square in New York City to practice yoga together—a mass of quiet focus in the midst of chaos. I had been practicing yoga for almost a year when I decided to attend the event with a friend. We practiced on mats shadowed by skyscrapers and learned to find our center of peace in the noisiest of atmospheres.
After the class, feeling calm and poised, we checked out the event vendors. We noticed a photographer taking pictures of people doing inversions in front of the building where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. It was such an Instagram-worthy moment that I couldn’t pass it up; it would be the culmination of a year’s worth of time spent fighting my fear of inversions.
I’d been afraid of going upside down ever since I was a kid and my friends had tried to help me into a handstand and my arms couldn’t keep me up. It was mortifying! I hadn’t tried it again until I started taking yoga in New York City. After about a month of classes, my yoga teacher told the class we were going to practice headstands. Completely freaked out at the suggestion, I started making scared faces at my friend across the room. The teacher saw me and asked me to demonstrate a headstand. I quickly protested, explaining that I’d never done a headstand before and couldn’t possibly try it.
He saw through my fear and persisted, setting up my mat by the wall. I crouched next to him and whispered, “My arms are not strong enough to hold me up.” Undaunted, he gathered six purple blocks at my mat. He knew the only thing holding me back was fear. He told me that I could do it, that I was strong.
For some reason I believed him. I rested my shoulders on the blocks and he guided my legs to the wall until all of a sudden I was doing it, I was in a headstand! Though I wanted to cheer I couldn’t, I was focused on not falling. My arms were tiring quickly and I tried to keep the building panic out of my voice when I asked, “How do I get down?” The teacher raced over and helped me down. I was elated and couldn’t thank him enough. I had done what I’d previously thought was impossible—I went upside down. The impossible was possible.
I couldn’t wait to try it again.
At the beginning of each class I’d lug six blocks into the studio so that I could do a headstand. I got tired of the annoyed looks of my fellow classmates who would have also appreciated the use of blocks and so I gradually tapered off until I could do a headstand at the wall unassisted.
I was still doing them against the wall at the time of the summer solstice. Clouds were forming, rain was coming, and my friend cautioned against it. Still, I knew I could do it and I wanted to prove that to myself. I stood in line, nervously fidgeting until it was my turn. I went up the stairs to the platform. Crowds flowed by, skyscrapers glowed around me, but I was focused, I was ready. I set my arms in the triangle formation I’d done so many times in class, placed my head on the floor, and gradually lifted my legs to the sky. I didn’t quite make it to a perfect vertical line, but it was close enough for me, and if you tilt the picture, it looks just fine.
I did the impossible that day and redefined what I was capable of. You can too!
Three Things I Learned:
If you Turn this picture of me around, you will see I am in a perfect headstand
Other Blogs Written by Kerri Davidson
1) Part I: Scuba Diving in a Volcano
2) Part 2: Turn Your World Upside Down
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