In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

My head’s in headstand: Ten for today

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I’m not quite obsessed but surely determined to do headstand. The accomplishment of this pose drives me each yoga session for the last year or so, the time I started believing I might be strong enough. The end of 2015?
 
I practice at home almost exclusively. Every once in a while, I’ll do a class a week at my local Yoga Shakti to infuse my practice with new ideas. The go-to poses and routines I rely on daily were stolen from my original yoga teacher, back in 2009, and an influential two-disk box set from Shiva Rhea. The mix and match poses to build your own feature along with set routines for beginners through advanced helped me tons.
 
I’m 56. Slowly, gravity has taught me what I can and cannot do. The lessons through the decades have stuck. I respect gravity–and my body. Now, I am not ready to call in the cane or “stick to gardening” as one chiropractor recommended. But I don’t crave handstands, cartwheels and flips like I used to even up through my 30s. I’ve enjoyed a right side up world.
 
So why the craving to turn the world on my head? I’ve thought about it often, in fact, each time I joy in the 4 or 5 seconds I can get both feet up in the air, my arms negotiating weight, blood, balance and universe. Why the joy? Simple accomplishment? Why does it make my day, almost?
 
I recall my rough pregnancy with my second child. Not real rough. I was grouchy. My first birth was bliss down the trail of new firsts every minute. I waddled the treadmill up to the 36 hours of labor and delivery, practically. But the second pregnancy three years later felt sluggish, loose and irritable. I felt gravity and hormone ravaged. I had heartburn.
 
While the mood helped me collect outstanding receivables from my law practice clients, it was not suitable for handling the rest of life, namely, a three year old, work and husband. So, I somehow instinctively ended up in a Yoga studio signing up for prenatal Yoga classes. It worked.
 
A class a week helped relieve growing pressure all over my body. I gained more weight with the second pregnancy, only 4 more pounds but felt like more, so my body needed relief from gravity. The class revolved around safe inversions using straps, blocks and other helpful props. The inversions brought a little bliss back in my body, even as I slightly feared the instability of my blobby, lopsided figure.
 
Perhaps, the memory of those classes prompted this new fascination with the promise of headstand, a powerful inversion–one I can feel just attempting it. My body reacts vigorously, the need to breathe through it indisputable. Though I doubt it’s the promise of bliss I seek. It’s something more and less.
 
Perhaps the world is too much with me these days with horrifying unraveling everywhere I turn: chaos and fear. Crazy elections and surprise referenda results merely symptoms of the underlying dissolution in flux, the resolution way on the horizon. Emergence.
 
But politics are always local and personal. Emerging order from chaotic transitions of my own predate or coincide with the world’s. My life vision, career and family have changed, transitioned to the next phase–whatever that may turn out to be–and so, the world feels turned upside down. It isn’t, but the disorienting loss of a 30 year career, future of marriage and children, and parents who promised to always be there–well, it feels like what I imagined as a child digging a hole to China might feel like coming out the other side, eventually.
 
So perhaps mastering uprightness on my head, naturally evolved from long-procured balance and strength–a lifetime’s worth–is the only way for a new vision and path to emerge clearly. Do I have to see that vision, that path for me to have it, be on it? No. But I figure I’ll know that by the time I’m able to breathe steadily, calmly, on my head for longer than 5 seconds.

 

Credit: headstand: Pixabay

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