Benefits of Falling on Your Ass: In Yoga and Life
“What is with you and those crazy yoga poses?” a good friend inquired last week.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that it’s all too common to see me upsidedown, balancing on my hands and arms. To say that inversions and arm balances have become an obsession for me would be putting things lightly.
The mental focus, physical strength, and dedication required to nail some of these poses have me hooked.
I used to be scared to death to get upside-down. You see, I don’t have a gymnastics or cheerleading background whatsoever. When the other little girls were tumbling and going to ballet, I was tagging along with my brother and his friends to build tree forts and catch carp in the creek.
I had never seen the world from an inverted point of view until a dear yogi friend and mentor of mine helped me attempt tripod years and years ago. Upon inversion I freaked. I actually let out an audible scream because it threw my world for such a loop and suddenly I didn’t know which way was up. My perception was skewed and everything looked foreign.
I was completely discombobulated and felt totally out of control.
Man, I hate that feeling.
I (quickly) abandoned inverting — “This is clearly not for me” — and chose to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground where I was comfy and continued a more upright yoga practice.
Mind Over Body
As I grew and evolved in fitness, I naturally started to do more things that scared me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Walking out with a heavy barbell on my back or taking a big bench attempt were things I had to get my mind right for.
I started to realize and value the ability in having extreme control over my mind, which I immediately noticed had a high carry-over directly proportionate to how my body performed.
It was only a natural progression that I came back to attempting inversions and bodyweight work because if you know anything about me at all, you know that I love a challenge.
Falling…. Falling…. Falling
“But what if you fall?” I get this question a lot, always followed by, “Doesn’t it hurt?”
If you are scared that you will fall, allow me to erase all doubt for you right now:
You will fall on your ass or flat on your face.
Probably a lot.
It will likely hurt your ego or your body, or both.
I fall on my ass all. of. the. time. Some things are a huge success while others are a big floppy failure.
Falling gives us the opportunity to show our most graceful self.
I was so incredibly scared to fall. It took me forever to pry myself away from the safety net of the wall behind me for inversions or a landing pad of couch cushions so I didn’t break my face during some hairball new arm balance.
You know what is interesting about falling though? It really isn’t that bad. Of course we don’t want to turf it, but it’s never as awful as we think it’ll be.
The times that my falls have hurt the most is when I’ve panicked, fought it, and flailed around like a fish out of water, rather than just having some grace and going with the flow.
What do you do when you fall? Sit around and cry about it?
No. You walk it off and try again. (Although I totally have cried.)
Failure doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us. It simply means that we don’t yet have the experience or the skill.
With perseverance we will.
Put it All Out There
You are putting yourself out there – or in the case of yoga, up there – and you know for a fact that chances of you eating shit are really frickin’ good. Going for it anyways shows growth and character.
We have to have a unique combo of physical and mental fortitude in order to succeed.
It takes focus, concentration, practice, consistency, and strength.
You know we aren’t just talking about yoga anymore, right?
Get out of your comfort zone and take some risks, and when you fall?
Do so gracefully.
Dust yourself off.
Pretend nobody saw it. (Because really, who cares if they did?)
Then try again.
And now, a quick tutorial on Sirsasana, or Tripod Headstand
Spoiler alert: I don’t fall in this. Sorry to disappoint. However, you can catch some outtakes on Instagram @JenComas
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