Our practice often speaks so much about our mental state, we just need to take the time to listen. Several months ago, I was pretty excited about handstands. I was practicing them regularly, and felt fairly strong. I attempted to move slowly away from the wall, felt myself shifting off balance and knew I should come down. Instead, I was attached to the result of nailing that handstand for a few more moments and tried to correct myself. Down I came with a loud crash, hyperextending my wrist, and leaving one nasty mat burn (like a rug burn, only worse) on my shoulder. My body hurt, and my pride was crushed.
In the months that followed, I became well aquainted with the basics. I learned that instead of becoming totally wrapped up in attaining full wheel pose (impossible with my wrist injury), I could explore the subtle actions that are available in bridge, and I loved it. I learned that a chair assisted wheel feels amazing, and opens up my heart center in a whole new way. Due to my injury, listening to my body and becoming less attached to achieving some final result became a necessity.
Time has gone by, and I just finished a handstand workshop at a local expo. Fears came up as I was asked to trust my assistant (not the wall) and turn my world upsidedown. Things went better when I stopped thinking about the final result, and really invested myself in the present moment. I noticed subtle things like my gaze and the action of the muscles in my inner ankles and wrists. It played a big part in my comfort in the pose. Most of all, I was able to lose the attachment to the result and enjoy the moment. A yoga practice is really about what you learn about yourself and how you feel. While I may not be bearing weight on my hands unassisted, I learned to become more comfortable in a difficult situation. This is worth way more than any handstand ever!
Namaste - Beth