Headstands are hard. Doing the standing splits is hard. Balancing our body weight on our big toe is hard. Twisting our spine into a pretzel is hard.
And yet, that’s not what scares us about doing yoga.
What scares us is the emotional posture of the practice. Because no matter what style of yoga we try, and no matter what type of teacher we have, the challenge is always the same:
Somebody is going to suggest a new way of operating that goes against our preconceived ideas.
Now that’s hard.
For me, it was becoming bodysmart, as my teacher called it. Fighting the urge to disappear down the rabbit hole of my mind and getting present with my physicality. Letting my thoughts come and go like weather patterns and listening to what my muscles and joints and bones were telling me.
Talk about a new way of operating.
It was a challenge. Still is a challenge, over eight years later. But there’s no doubt that it’s worth it. Because the payoff of having somebody question something you already put away in your tidy little mental drawers is, the whole house shakes. And that shock inspires you to attain heights greater than what you are accustomed to believing are possible.
What practice helps you get present with your physicality?
Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.