• Chelsea Bared

Learning to Trust Myself Upside Down: Taking an Intro to Inversion Class

Ground classes are not my favorite way to be active. When I first started learning aerials I was completely hooked. It taught me a lot about body awareness, trust, and loving myself, all the things that my eating disorder took away from me for so many years. In the air, I was forced to be present and truly had to pay attention to what my body was saying in order to connect. For the first time in my life, I was aware of every muscle and breath.

Moving over to online classes, now that my gym time is limited has been a welcomed challenge. Though it doesn't feel the same, I have had the opportunity to take a variety of different classes and learn new skills Currently I have been challenging myself by taking Intro to Inversions. I have always had trouble creating a straight handstand or trusting myself to balance properly on my wrists. It was something I had always felt terrified of perusing.

Terrified of the drills, of feeling my weight in my hands of feeling silly. Of trusting myself to lean on what I felt was my weakest part of myself.

In my second class, I fell into the camera. Embarrassed, though not completely put off I signed up for the next week because something in me felt like I could do this. I could learn more about myself upside down. I was surprised at what I found out about my body and about myself.

Some Drills

1. Walking up the wall.

2. Balancing with one foot off the wall.

3. Bringing your knees to your chest from the wall.

4. Kickups.

Lessons learned

1. Lean forward until you feel like you are going to fall, and then lean some more

, feel the resistance, and learn to listen to when enough is enough. Leaning on my wrists in order to feel my body's weight allows me to understand myself before moving upside down. When I feel like I can't lean forward anymore I trust myself to lean some more.

The same is true in life. I often feel as though I don't push myself enough. Leaning just enough into myself and then pulling back. Staying close to my comfort zone, often not trusting myself for fear that I just might face plant.

2. You already have the strength

Learning to do a handstand at first felt intimidating. There was so much technique involved. I didn't feel strong enough to hold myself up. But, the first time I walked up the wall I could feel my muscles activating, I could feel myself pushing into the ground and my fingers griping for support. Often we have the strength to support ourselves, we are just scared of using it. And if we have the courage to modify the inversion to our level we can achieve our goal and build up the skills needed to feel confident enough to trust ourselves to activate our inner strength.

3. Trust yourself

To say no, to catch yourself, to not catch yourself if you don't need to. To push back, to lean forward, or to fall and start over. I must admit, I have the hardest time trusting myself, in life, and in handstands. I will often stare at the wall before making an attempt. Just like in a life where I will second guess that little voice in my head telling me to move forward and try. That fear of falling keeps me from kicking up. But with practice, determination, and the love of being upsidedown you learn to trust yourself.

4. Progress isn't immediately seen

I was so used to seeing progress. In aerials, you often learn a move and by the end of the class, you put a sequence together. BAM you look amazing. Inversions it's quite different. Class after class I would become frustrated. Why wasn't I improving? It reminded me of much of my recovery process. Where many days I would ask myself, "I am doing everything just like them, everything they are telling me to do, and yet I feel like a failure" But if I was honest with myself I could feel the smallness of the progression, and then one day it was there. As if inside of me. Little by little I was succeeding. It takes time for your body to learn this built up skill, be kind, and be compassionate with yourself. It's worth it.

Its been about two months since I have taken my first class and I can officially hold a handstand against a wall for 30 seconds, balance with one foot off the walk, and kick up into a headstand. Though my journey is far from over I feel completely invested in myself and in this path of self-trust and body awareness. It's the lessons I have found in this class that has taught me again what I am capable of and where I am in my recovery that encourage me to continue working towards self-improvement and finding my path.

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