Q: Advanced inversions and arm balances really scare me. How can I tell if I’m ready for them? And how can I overcome my fear?
A: My answer may surprise you: You are ready NOW. On some level there is access to the pose you seek, whether this means doing the prep for the pose (we've all heard it: "A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step." -Laozi) or trying what you think is unattainable. I cannot count the number of times a student has said, "I can't do (fill in the blank)" and I say, "Have you ever tried?" or "Yes, you can" and they go right up into the pose they said they could not do.
All this being said, I am not recommending brand-new practitioners, without proper alignment or instruction, hurl their bodies into the air in hopes of a handstand. Poses that require taking flight or going upside down require working for them, not wishing for them. Core strength, integration of the spine and controlled, precise alignment are all necessary components for safe and effective inversions. The biggest indicator that you are ready to go to the next level is slow and steady control of your body and breath. Having to kick or jump off the floor to get into Crane Pose is a good sign that the core strength is not there yet. The tortoise wins the race when it comes to any inversion or arm balance—slow and steady, but you've got to get in the race!
Bethany Lyons is a powerful leader, creator, community builder and cofounder of Lyons Den Power Yoga, Manhattan's only Baptiste-style yoga studio. Bethany is a classically trained ballet dancer, Certified Baptiste Yoga Teacher and Master Instructor at SoulCycle. In cofounding Lyons Den Power Yoga, Bethany seeks to showcase the endless possibilities all around us and to show up in a big way for her students and in her life.