2.28.2010

The Joy of Falling

One of my favorite things about practicing yoga at home is that I'm able to be bold and, if necessary, fall. As adults in our society, most of us don't often have the opportunity to get out and play, to experiment with our bodies in relation to the world around us without fear, the way children do. We've learned that the world is a dangerous place. That falling is failure, and it hurts. So we move slowly, conservatively. On the mat, we have the opportunity to be liberal with our bodies.

My mat is a safe place for me to experiment and play near the edges. Every time I fall out of a pose, I laugh. I have a good chuckle, even though I may not have achieved my intention, because for a fleeting moment, I completely lose control. The forces of the world take over, and as I'm tipping and tumbling, all I can do is wait. Wait for my body to hit the ground. Wait for the opportunity to try again.

I once fell practicing a tight arm-pressure balance. I tipped over and rolled across the floor like a tumble weed, my legs still tightly wrapped around my shoulders, giggling all the while. When first practicing handstands against the wall, I would slowly and gracelessly collapse into a sweaty, inverted pile on the floor. I have bounced my face off of my mat once or twice learning various arm balances. And my hands have slipped out from beneath me during urdhva dhanurasana, dropping me to the floor like a sack of doorknobs with an anticlimactic thud (that one hurt a little bit).

Falling is hilarious, disorienting and exhilarating, and in these moments of chaos, I take the opportunity to learn about the limitations of my body, laugh at myself, and simply wait for the world to restore my illusion of control.

2 comments:

  1. I love a playful practice! I think the only thing that gets us past the fear of falling is actually falling.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In many ways I have achieved much more in my home practice. I am able to work on a posture with much more confidence. My teacher helps me with technique, but only I can get there.

    I try to pass this on to my students. As Guruji said "Practice, and all will come". As I say "Laugh and it'll come even better!" :)

    ReplyDelete