Really, I’m going to stick my handstands NOW?

When I was little and drove into “the City” (that’s New York, if you don’t know…!) with my parents, that granddame of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, would periodically be enshrouded in scaffolding.  “She’s being cleaned,” my father would say, “or repaired, perhaps.”

I construct scaffolding around me all the time.  After all, I always need some kind of cleaning and reparation, right?  I mean, I’m never really perfect.  So it sure feels good to have some wood and rebar around me to keep me safe.  Like a bunch of  Facebook friendships, or a well-though-out day planner.  Some padding in the checking account.  A ladder to climb.  Safety.

A couple of months ago my scaffolding started falling apart.  As well it should, in a way – I mean, scaffolding isn’t supposed to be a long-term infrastructural improvement, it’s supposed to be a temporary bolster – like that wall behind you in handstand.  You can get used to it though, so that when it gets stripped away you feel naked and exposed.

I like having that nice stable wall behind me.  It’s so, well….firm.  But it’s a prop – a really big prop, mind you, but a prop nonetheless.  And we all know that if you really want to stick handstand in the middle of the room you have to get into the middle of the room, pure and simple.

In the midst of watching my elaborately constructed balsa wood scaffolding crumble in the last month or two, I decided to spend part of every day playing with handstand in the middle of the room. No agenda whatsoever, just play.

And I started sticking them.  Out of nowhere.  And it’s a rush!

Okay, sure, sure, I’ve been working for months on finger pads clawing the floor with sensitivity, and with generating as much power squeezing between my legs as possible.  That’s what we do in yoga, focus on little details, keep solid attention on potentially meaningless actions. But I wasn’t actually working on sticking my handstands, I was just working on some little elements that happen to contribute to the task.

My friend Dusty Hardman “sticking” a handstand on a Florida beach

And then the handstands happened, out there in the middle of the studio, without the scaffolding.  And they have been happening day after day.  They happen on days when there are tears running down my face and days when there is paralyzing insecurity flitting around my mind and days when I cannot possibly believe that grace is watching out for me at all.  I just keep doing the little things, like rooting my finger pads and putting my armbones way into my body’s back plane and squeezing my legs together for all I’m worth and the balance happens.

Yep, I’m naked out there, and the falls are kinda dramatic.  Mostly they’re cartwheels worth laughing at, but sometimes there are collapses, ugly backbend dropovers, and things that cause momentary twinges of pain and panic.  But I get back up and hug to the midline again and the next one usually works.

So I’m going without the wall for a while.  It’s looking like I’m going to have to stand on my own without the scaffolding outside the studio as well.  That means I’ll have to trust in my own structural integrity, like Our Lady Liberty does most of the time, despite the wind waves and rain that hammer on her out there.  Everyone says she gets more and more majestic with age…

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~ by bridgetannlyons on May 10, 2012.

5 Responses to “Really, I’m going to stick my handstands NOW?”

  1. Nice Bridget! Glad to see you’re pressing onward and upward in an upside down way!

  2. beautifully said. keep up the good work or should i say keep on playing. thank you for sharing.

  3. Just what I needed to hear, keep sticking those handstands, encourages me to practice letting go of the wall

  4. I am a little gun-shy after my last crash attempting a hand stand in the middle of the room at Yoga Tejas…and you saw the whole thing. Ha! But I REALLY want to learn to do them without the wall.

  5. You go girl! Handstands are so empowering. That moment when you hit your balance, sound disappears and you are weightless. I’ve only done it a handful of times but it’s beautiful each and every time.

    🙂

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