Monday, April 04, 2005

Inversion Confusion

That's right! I said yesterday you can benefit from the disorientation you experience while you're upside-down.

I see this frequently. I'll help someone get upside-down in a hand-stand. But while he's up there, he's not vertical. So I'll say, "move your feet forward."

Handstand Posted by Hello

Guess what happens? Usually--nothing. Almost nothing happens because when you're upside down for the first several dozen times, orientation and control are gone. In confusion, you freeze up. Nothing moves.

When you're first inverted you don't know left from right. You can't figure out front and back.

So to be honest with you, when I'm teaching inversions, I don't ever say "move your legs forward." I'll usually ask another person to stand in front of the student I'm helping and ask him or her to wave at my student to get her attention. Then I'll say, "move your feet toward that person you see waving at you!" Usually, this instruction works.

But wait. Seriously, how could confusion possibly be a good thing?

It's good for you because we don't always move or act authentically. We move using habitual patterns. And when you're upside-down some of your strongest habit patterns make you fall over.

SO...the benefit of being disoriented is that I become more aware of my habitual body patterns. If I don't pay attention to them, I simply tip over. Instead, I can practice and apply the principles and actions I'm being asked to master (by my experienced teacher.)

It's really great when a student discovers his habits in headstand and learns to use other actions and alignments that serve him. THEN he uses those same actions and alignments in "easier" poses, poses in which he'd never seen a problem before.

By the way, it's a great metaphor for the rest of your life, too! Aren't you confused about the final stages of Terri Schiavo's life? Isn't it disorienting for you to try to figure out who to believe? Doesn't it make your head spin trying to make sense out of the sadness and ironies? Here's what I'm trying to do: find the pat, convenient patterns in my thinking that I play out habitually, but just aren't working as I sort through the events surrounding the end of her life.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., There are still more benefits you can experience if you'll turn your body upside-down. Inverting can be as simple as lying on the floor with your legs resting on a wall. I'll tell you more about subordinating your head to your heart when I write to you tomorrow.

p.p.s., My students invert every time we get together for a Breakthrough Training class at Show Me Yoga Center in Jefferson City. Without fail, we practice one inversion in every Breakthrough Training class. It's called a neck bridge. Not only is it confusing, but it's incredible for your abs and those back muscles that make better posture possible. I teach this class on Monday evenings at 5:30 pm, Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm and Thursdays at noon. See my teaching schedule, and more at Show Me Yoga Center.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(573) 680-6737


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for stopping by my site and saying hello. I'm enjoying your tips. :)

Be well.


9:50 PM  

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