5 Ways Inversions Have Changed My Life

handstands

In my first yoga class in 2009, I remember the teacher demonstrating bakasana (crow pose). It seemed so advanced, and my first attempt left me with bruised triceps and a confused ego. I wrote myself off as not strong enough and went about my life, and yoga practice, for a few years.

My real journey with inversions and arm balances began in January 2013. I’ll admit that Instagram is what first turned me on to this part of the practice, and I’m so happy that it did!

I was moving to a new apartment in a new city, and my best friend and I flipped not being able to afford furniture into a positive thing and started teaching ourselves how to go upside down and balance on our hands in our “home studio”.

How’s this edit for a throwback!? January 2013.

How’s this edit for a throwback!? January 2013.

inversion practice

We watched tutorials, helped each other with verbal cues, took photos and videos of each other, and before our very eyes learned to do things we never thought our bodies would be capable of.

Inversions have been a part of my practice ever since, and I love coaching others in their journey because it has changed my life in so many ways.

1. I’m willing to be a beginner. It seems silly to me now, but not so long ago I wasn’t crazy about learning new things because I was used to already being good at what I spent my time doing, and my ego liked that. I’m not sure what my game plan was for ever expanding and learning new skills, but inversions have been a gateway to explore my curiosity without needing to be the best at something.

2. I’ve learned how to truly focus. It’s pretty simple, really; being inverted or balancing your hands requires 100% focus, and attention to even the tiniest of details. If my arms weaken or my eyes waiver, or if I move too quickly, the posture is over. Practicing inversions has taught me to bring more mental awareness to everything else in my life, too.

3. I trust myself. Like every inversion junkie, I’ve fallen OUT of so many arm balances that I’ve learned to trust my split-second decision making and gut reactions. Falling has made me better at staying composed and calmly and confidently responding when something goes wrong off the yoga mat.

4. I believe anything is possible. The body is a miraculous tool to see the results of consistent hard work. My inversion practice has shown me first hand that anything I choose to focus my energy on becomes available to me, and my mind is really the only limiting factor. This goes for you, too. I promise!

5. I’m okay with there being no finish line. Anytime I have a breakthrough in my inversion practice, there is something new to start working toward. There’s no such thing as mastering yoga just like there’s no such thing as mastering life. There is always more to learn and something new to discover. This gives me great comfort, and is a big reason I keep coming back to my mat through all seasons of life.

Of course yoga isn’t all about standing on your hands or fancy poses, but the journey of learning an asana can teach us a lot more than meets the eye.

Are inversions a part of your practice? Why or why not? I’d love to know.

Yoga BlogAlice Zarka