For many many years, shoulderstands scared the crap out of me. In traditional shoulderstand, I always had terrible anxiety and basically thought that I was going to die, that my whole body would come crashing down onto my head.
Now that I am a little more seasoned, I've relocated this set of anxieties to a shoulderstand variation, Urdhva Padmasana ( http://www.ashtangayoga.info/practice/the-finishing-sequence/item/urdhva-padmasana/ ). It's a shoulderstand with your legs in lotus position and hands on knees. Basically, you're sitting, except that you are upside down and you've got the floor under your shoulders instead of your booty, where you might be used to it.
Bringing my hands up to my knees, and totally balancing on my shoulders terrifies me. I typically go at it in a very tentative way, touching one hand to wobbly knee, then another.
This morning, I tried something different: I engage my core and straightened my arms, bracing my hands against my knees. With strong ab and arm muscles engaged, the pose felt different--more stable, more straight, much less shaking.
Ironically, going for it was less scary than being tentative. And safer, too.
I'm rolling this idea about what it means for strength to be supportive around in my head. Obviously, strong muscles provide a better support and better balance for the skeleton.
The chapter I am revising was originally written a bit more like a narrative than an argument; as a result, the claims are a bit submerged. I've also been helping my husband with an article, in which he tends to make his points inductively, rather than beginning his paragraphs with the points he is making.
As in my wobbly shoulderstands, there's fear in the submerged argument. Also as in the shoulderstand, pussy footing around in writing is actually less effective in the long run.
In writing, making one's argument clear and claiming one's claims may result in rejection when the reader doesn't like what's being said. However, making strong claims does mean that something is actually being said--that the piece has a backbone. And sometimes it will succeed. Conversely, not claiming claims, not supporting our ideas with strength means never really getting into the pose to begin with, which is ultimately the much weaker position.
While the wobbly claim or wobbly shoulderstand might feel safer in the short term, it's being brave enough to be strong that we really support our practice for the long run.
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