I teach at a school that houses over 800 students. Over 75% of those students are on free and reduced lunch. There are no Range Rover’s in the car pool line, there are kids who need to see a dentist badly, and students who have to take a bag home on Fridays, just so they have something to eat over the weekend. My students are kids. And kids are fierce. They have no fear.
Last Friday was picture day. This is a huge occasion at my school. The boys come in baby blue tuxedos with ruffle shirts. The girls in big poofy dresses and heels. They are absolutely adorable, and make me feel a little guilty that my son wore a ripped Panthers t-shirt last picture day. Picture day or not, PE must go on. I took a group of second graders outside, and we play out on the track for a while. When I suggest, “Let’s do Handstands!” They all cheer and clap and start immediately. There is no hesitation.
I started to think about when I suggest the same thing to my yoga students. No one cheers. Or claps. Or starts immediately. Instead, many run to the bathroom, get water, take an early savasana. No one makes eye contact with me. These are physically fit women and men. These are smart, education yogis dressed in athletic attire with a mat and a towel to catch their fall. Not 8 year-olds in pigtails and crinoline dresses on a concrete track.
What are they waiting for? What is holding them back?
Fear. I know. I’ve been there. For the first year of my yoga practice, I watched others do handstands. I was very intimidated. Was I afraid I would fall? Yes. Afraid to look stupid? Yes. Finally, I got over it and starting doing handstand. Every time it was cued, and even when it wasn’t. I practiced with my students at school, and against a wall at home. I wanted handstand in my practice, so I started practicing it. I felt empowered, strong and liberated. I want my students to feel this way too, so I encourage them to kick up to handstand every time I call standing splits. I don’t want them to wait as long as I did to awaken that free spirit that is inside all of us. (I promise, that spirit is there…it just gets covered up and smothered by life as you get older)
“Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from experiencing the truly fulfilling moments that life has to offer.”
Here is an awesome link if you want to learn more about the benefits of headstands. Why should we do a headstand?