my million dollar baby moment

okay…i’ll admit it’s not the easiest transition in yoga, but honestly, it’s not the hardest one either. in fact, it’s pretty manageable…albeit perhaps a tad bit scary.

i’m talking about vrschikasana in adho mukha vrksasana to gandha behrundasana, silly! but of course!

oh…sound like sanskrit to you? basically, it’s going from scorpion in a handstand to scorpion on your chin (or, i guess, my chin, to be more exact).

i was able to do it the first time i tried it (it’s really not as hard as it looks)…and the 99 times after that. but that’s where this story begins.

so, i’m in a class working on this particular transition. mind you, again, i have done this 100 times before (give or take) without issues. but not this time. i had just arrived in chin-ville when i realized that my legs were too far over & beyond my head and i was going to flip.

now, flipping in handstand is one thing. you land in urdhva danurasana (upward bow) and all is okay in the world.

flipping in gandha behrundasana is a whole ‘nother story. your chin is on the floor, so you are basically rolling over your head with your neck fully extended, face first.

at that moment, everything got really slow and clear and i truly believed “this is where it all ends.” either i was going to die or be permanently paralyzed by severing my spine. if you’re old enough to know the movie, it was my “million dollar baby” moment…time stopped.

after the dramatic flip, i did a quick check in to see if i was still alive. unless i am writing to you right now from heaven unbeknownst to me (god, i hope this isn’t heaven!), i’m still alive. check.

and then…

i got up and i was fine. didn’t even hurt my neck or anything. like fine, as in perfectly fine.

not very dramatic, i know. no ambulances, no life-saving operations, in fact, i don’t even think a single person in the class even noticed. and class–and life–went on as usual.

but…i pretty much became petrified of this transition. never mind that it was old hat up until that moment…or that i didn’t even hurt myself when i fell…the possibility was there and it scared the crap out of me.

for the next few years, i avoided this transition and if someone asked me to do it, i would cheat my legs so far in front of me that not only was there no chance of my flipping over, but very little chance i would actually land the pose either.

it took a long time for me to finally buck up and put this transition back into my practice. i don’t have a lot of fears when it comes to yoga, but fear had definitely kidnapped this from my repertoire.

i’m a big believer that one of the biggest benefits of yoga is learning to face your fears…calmly. eventually, i did add this back into my practice. and even if it scared me, even if i had a deep and visceral reaction to it, i was determined not to let this silly challenge beat me.

now, it’s a part of my daily practice again. and every time i land it, i have to think…hey, i’m still alive and turns out, life is good!

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