January 10th, 2008 — 7:45pm

“I can get you into Handstand,” yoga teacher Scott Blossom said to me

Since I’ve been practicing the pose on and off for 14 years, and no teacher has yet taught me to kick up fully by myself, you can imagine my skepticism. But since I was at my absolute, drop dead deadline for filing a piece on facing my Handstand fears for Yoga Journal, I thought I’d give it one more try. (I had actually already filed the piece and ended it with my still trying, proud of my gumption).

Scott gives me beautiful instruction on how to stack the arms, focusing my attention on my forearms. He shows me how to relax my Trapezius muscles, which often seize up when you try to kick. He shows me how to bring breath into my arms and back. But most important, he instructs me to drop all my stories about what I think and feel about the pose. That my ego is not queen of the show. That I don’t have to be a hero. To observe, not judge, and “simply witness.”

So I do. I go to the wall, follow his instructions, and with him standing beside me, I kick up.

He is a brilliant teacher, and I am a grateful student.

I’ve also learned that the stories we tell ourselves are not always true (I can kick up, I can’t. I’m too weak, too curvy, too old, fill in the blank). And, that bearing witness to your own life is an astounding gift.

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