I recently remembered that I had a previous blog (or five…but I’m not thinking all the way back to Xanga and teen-angst here!) before this one. I got to reflecting on it, and it made me feel…….whole.
I thought back on my first attempt at really building a website, and putting out content that mattered to me. It was around 2014-2015, and oh my how I have grown!
It’s a strange and beautiful process to see the evolution of your self-actualization. I have changed so much over the last ten years, and I wonder if old me would recognize new me? Sure, she has a different hair color, different clothing style, different attitude: but she’s changed in bigger ways. She’s been hurt, she’s hurt others, she’s reached goals, she’s failed at some, she’s changed her outlook (on numerous occasions), and she’s changed everything in between.
I feel so fortunate to finally be at a place in life where I am honing in on what matters, how I want to achieve my goals, and where I want to be in five years. For me, so much of my choices are based on where I want to be in my relationships over time. I want to continue to enjoy and improve my marriage, my friendships, my relationships with family (or, sometimes, lack there of), and walk the right path for my heart. My heart may pivot and stumble occasionally, but it’s always there, supplying the steady beat of my song that is slowly being crafted to perfection.
Everyone’s journey looks different. No one person is on a greater journey than another person. We are each flailing through this life, hoping to inhale calm and exhale success. Whether it takes us nine or 90 years to get there, we’re all walking towards something. For me, my steps have absolutely wavered. I have gone through phases where I feel invincible, and phases where I have stumbled so far from the path that I succumb to darkness and panic and loss of self. But, to me, it’s beautiful. Without the waves of life to carry us along, we wouldn’t be grateful for the successes. We wouldn’t be able to dream of a better life and plan out our next moves. All of our failures, and abandoned projects, and losses along the way are bringing us home.
Ebb’s and flows.
Our heart still beats for those things we’ve left abandoned along the trail, it just beats louder for our new passions. So, for me, looking back on my previous blog (and publishing’s!) I feel giddy. So happy that I built something from the ground up, even if I set it aside and started over with a new (and improved) project.
I grew. I changed. I moved on.
Life is about moving forward when the time is right, and I am checking my watch constantly. So, in honor of that – I wanted to share a piece of writing that covers what was most sacred to my heart in 2015: my yoga practice.
(Note: Yoga is still immensely important to me, it’s just not the center of my universe. It helped bring me closer to my center, and now I think bigger & deeper. )
((DOUBLE NOTE: My Yoga practice has evolved so much since 2015, inversion have become less important [and more difficult for me to execute!], and yin-infused practice has become paramount for my survival.))
INVITING INVERSIONS INTO YOUR PRACTICE
Inversions are a challenging and rewarding practice:
When we think of “difficult” yoga poses, our minds often turn to images of beautiful Yogi’s flipping their world upside down—sometimes on one hand and sometimes in ways that defy gravity.
Sure, it looks impressive, but what’s the point of it? Do we just do it to look fancy? Honestly, yeah, sometimes we do. But, why do we really do it?
Apart from looking cool, there’s plenty of great reasons:
1. They keep us healthy—they help us reverse our blood flow, renew circulation and move toxins along.
2. They energize us—headstand, handstand and forearm stand rejuvenate us physically and mentally.
3. They relax us—shoulder stand and other calming inversions bring our heart rate down and prepare our body for calm.
4. Improved balance—it’s some seriously hard work to stay upside down; your body will grow so much!
5. Changes our perspective—literally, mentally and spiritually.
6. They’re fun and they increase our confidence—seeing our hard work pay off boosts our self confidence and motivates us to continue to better ourselves.
Inversions help us test our strength and our focus; they get us centered; they help us challenge ourselves. They make us stronger in every way.
However, it is often hard to learn Inversions in a class—there is simply not enough time to devote to each student or to cater to the individual level of comfort in poses. But there are lots of workshops available that focus on specific areas such as Arm Balances.
There are also some steps we can take in our home practice to work towards these pivotal poses—but it is important be mindful and careful in our endeavor!
How to safely build towards Inversions:
It’s never a good idea to just jump in and try difficult poses without warming up or doing prep work. To avoid injury, it’s important to ease our bodies into the more challenging poses.
Prep poses aid in strength training, balance, confidence, focus—and they prepare our muscles for the harder poses to come.
For example, Dolphin Pose is the number one pose to practice in order to build the strength and maneuverability to lift into Forearm Stand. It helps to get our arms accustomed to the position (using a strap can also be helpful) and to adjust to the onset of weight they will bear. The more we incorporate Dolphin into our daily practice, the more quickly our bodies adjust to our practice towards Forearm Stand.
Try incorporating this pose into your Vinyasa:
At the end of Downward Dog bring your forearms down to the ground. Breathe and keep your eyes on the ground between your hands. Begin walking your feet slowly in towards your midsection. The closer your feet get, the higher in the air your butt goes and the harder it gets. Just try holding it there. When you are more comfortable with that you can begin to lift alternating legs into the air (three legged dog style) and holding them—this will be an exercise in balance and core strength.
Eventually you will do this pose near a wall and kick a leg into the air. The biggest struggle with this pose (for me) is engaging the core and protecting the lower back. You need to have the core engaged when you kick into this pose, and don’t hollow out your lower back!
Yoga is a beautiful practice that lets us confront challenges head on and defeat them at our own pace. Don’t let Inversions scare you away—success comes with perseverence. The reward is certainly worth the effort, so give it a shot.
Be mindful, be safe and be well on your journey. Namaste.
I still think back fondly on this writing, and I remember how nervous I was to submit it, how excited I was to publish it, and how it helped me get to where I am today. So, thank you universe for the journey, and I look forward to more!
Morgan Messick is a Pop-Culture fanatic, Podcast Host, Booktuber & total #BookBabe living in Austin, TX with her Husband and two dogs — Scoop & Eleanor. She aspires to grow her #TBR pile, do all of the hiking, travel as often as possible and make a joke at every turn. She utilizes laughter and yoga for daily medicine, thinks that Harry Potter is magic for all ages, and truly believes Die Hard is a great Christmas movie (SO DEAL WITH IT.)
Catch her musings here, and around the web — links in the “about” page!