Asteya is the third of the Yamas. The awareness of what we covet and our ability to refrain from coveting or stealing that very thing. So, what does this have to do with inversions? Well…
I am terrified of going upside down. It is a fear I’ve harboured since I was a child. When I look on Pinterest, or at Yoga Journal or any number of sites that celebrate yoga poses, the inversion is king. Do a handstand and you’ve “made it” in the yoga world. Or, at least, that’s the message I am receiving when I look at the glossy mags on the stand in the bookstores.
In all honesty, I am cynical and angry because I don’t feel as though handstands or other arm balances are accessible to me. I look to my neighbours on the mat moving into crow or balancing on their heads and I am jealous….I want that. It is something I covet. While I celebrate their hand-balancing successes (and I truly am excited for anyone who has the ability to invert themselves) there is also a sense of loss and frustration that comes with it for me personally.
Now, I’m not talking about stealing in the sense of an object or coveting another person’s belongings, but I am coveting that persons abilities and skills. Rather than celebrate and continue to practice, I sometimes just look on longingly at my fellow yogis wishing I had what I seemingly don’t.
At the same time, this brings back the first Yama – Ahisma (do no harm). I am not willing to go full throttle into a inverted situation that I am not feeling comfortable with. I believe I would do more harm than good to my mental, emotional and physical state.
So, I will continue to practice. I will continue to celebrate fellow yogis who take flight!
Are you afraid of headstands/handstands/arm-balancing? Were you ever and overcame it? Tell me about it!