arm and hand balancing: on the other side of fear

I mentioned yesterday that I have been using Aerial Revolution’s week-long unlimited introductory package.  I took my first silk class last Saturday, and last night, I opted for another new class–beginning hand balancing!

I’ll go right to it.  There have been a few inversions for me that I thought required strength I did not have–forearm stand and handstand.

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Left: forearm stand  Right: handstand (images via Pinterest)

A few months ago, I started to make a conscious effort to practice forearm stand on my own time at home.  Five minutes, ten minutes, one minute–each day–to simply go to the wall and try it out.  Weeks later, I found myself finding that sweet spot and holding it.  Now I am not kidding when I say that I thought it would take years for me to even hold forearm stand for a full inhale and exhale, so naturally, it blew my mind how quickly I was able to grow in that posture. I truly had thought that it would be a long long time from now that I would even be able to say that that it was a posture I was working on in my practice.  And yet, here I am, a few months later, saying otherwise.

The same goes for handstands.  No way would I thought that I would even be attempting it.  I’m not strong enough, I’ve thought.  But last night taught me something about the postures; it’s more about core strength, rather than shoulder and arm strength.  And most importantly, it’s about moving past fear and not allowing it to hold you back.  The class was a blast.  This was my first time even trying out handstands, and I had so much fun attempting with someone to spot me each and every time, to catch me if I lost my balance. I found myself stronger than I realized, and even holding a handstand without aid for a full inhale and exhale.  Overall, the feedback I received from the instructor was that my handstands are great!  I have good form, and the posture looks good.  Now I am not saying that I have perfected my forearm stands and handstands.  It will take some time before I am able to hold a beautiful forearm stand and it will take time before I even hold handstand without the wall or a friend to catch me.

But it’s all about fear.  Fear has been holding me back.  In the physical sense, I have been afraid of falling and hurting my body–and with good reason, of course.  Without being safe, there is the possibility of pain.  But as I reveled in my accomplishments last night and felt the high after the class’s end, all I could think of was my mindset.  I have been terrified of these postures, most especially handstands, and it had never been so clear to me how strongly fear had been a barrier.  Fear that I was not strong enough.  But what helped was that I had someone beside me, to catch me if I fell.

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At the risk of being too cheezball in this post, it truly was eye opening.   The mantra “stay strong” has been a mantra I have had for years now.  Strength is something I constantly pray about, often thinking I am not strong.  Well, clearly that is not the case, especially when there is someone there alongside you to catch you if you fall and keep you balanced.  Last night showed me what it looks like when you move past fear.  There is freedom, accomplishment, and joy!  Of course there are stumbles–such is life.  But there is laughter … and smiles.  And a realization that we are all stronger than we realize.

jn

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