We did my most dreaded pose, the handstand (adho mukha vrksasana), today. Trying to get into handstand has always been the most humiliating experience, whether I approach it from a standing position or from down dog. The thing about doing yoga is, I tend to interpret my inability to do certain poses as a reflection of my unenlightened soul. I can come up with any number of explanations for why I can’t do handstand. To name a few, “I’m afraid of the unknown,” “I mistrust my heart and prefer to let my head lead,” “I’m unaware of my own ability/strength,” and “I’m unaware of the universe’s ability to support me.”
I can’t quite see how to escape from all those thoughts. They are certainly not helpful in getting me up into handstand. What's more, I don't even really believe those things about myself. Yet I let them get to me.
We did one bridge (setu bandha sarvangasana), followed by a second bridge with the option to do wheel (urdhva dhanurasana) instead. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve really been getting a lot of juice out of bridge pose, so much that to choose wheel instead seems like self-torture in comparison. Bridge has been feeling so natural. It also feels super good on my shoulders. This was probably the peak moment of the class for me. Probably cuz I was so happy to be out of handstand. And at yogajournal.com/poses, they say that bridge "calms the brain."
The funny thing is, I can do handstand. I know this because I’ve done it. I just can’t always do it, and when I have done it, I haven’t thought it was solid enough. So saying I can’t is just a “story” in Byron Katie language. But “I can’t do handstand” is a story that I’m currently addicted to.
Maybe the real question is, why should anyone want to do handstand this badly?