As I was dangling upside down listening to my teacher tell me to bend my knee the way I do in warrior one, I realized I didn't even know where my knee was at that point! Actually, I was afraid that if I moved, I would plummet ten inches to my death.
I was excited to do aerial yoga. I’d seen it on YouTube and had to try it! I didn't realize how disoriented and afraid I would be. I totally lost that “no fear of falling” thing I had as a kid. I watch my daughter do it now -- she runs full speed off the couch. No matter how many times she falls or I tell her not to, she still does it. She is not afraid to fall, and every day she learns something new.
I am afraid to fall. Not only to physically fall but to also fall in other areas of my life. So, as I was dangling from that piece of silk hung from the ceiling, I realized I needed to breathe and get over the fear. The worst thing that could happen would be that I would hit the ground, bruising my ego. I ended up taking inverted cobbler pose toward the end of class, which is basically cobbler’s pose hanging upside down. I felt invigorated and giddy. I felt like my nearly two year old daughter feels when I let her climb up the steps -- like she conquered the world.
Here are three other things that aerial yoga has taught me about my own practice:
1. Hanging upside down is fun. Seriously, how often do you find yourself hanging upside down? I was never the kid in the playground hanging upside down on the monkey bars. I erred on the side of caution, and at 25 I went upside down for the first time. After succeeding, I realized it was time to practice my headstands without a wall behind me. If I didn't start doing this, the inversion area of my practice would remain stagnant.
2. It is okay to leave your comfort zone. My comfort zone is yoga on a mat with at least one part of my body grounded. Doing aerial yoga broke the tightly bound laces I have wrapped around myself. How many times have I missed out on something because I wanted to remain grounded? I realized it is time to take chances not only with my practice, but in life.
3. It’s okay to not know what I am doing. I love knowing what I am doing, and being wrong is so hard for me. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I walked into that aerial yoga class. It was me and one other person who was experienced. I was the one afraid to move, getting dizzy, and having no idea how to get myself out of the pose I was in. With the teachers guidance I managed to do things I never would have tried on my own. She showed me what to do, and then she had to show me again because I just didn't get it. I never ask my teachers for help, because I hate being the one to not know what I am doing. I realized that keeping mute is not going to get my questions answered, nor help my practice grow. It was refreshing to let go of that need to be right and to be experienced. I now find myself saying more often, "I have no clue, but I am willing to find out."
image via AerialYoga.com