Living Life Upside Down!

I have always strived to be what I thought I should be in life. Whether that was having a job as a lawyer, or being the best mom ever, or looking a certain way, or working out a certain way. It was always about conforming to other people’s expectations. Whether that was my parents, my friends, magazines, society in general. And being a classic Type “A” person, I did it as hard and intensely as I could. So I forced myself into a job I don’t enjoy, and was meticulous about what I ate and wore, and hired personal trainers and worked out in the gym or at tae kwon do. Life was always exhausting!

But it is funny how sometimes your life can just get turned upside down and suddenly your perspective shifts. It seemed once I hit my 40’s, I started not to care about all of these outside pressures so much anymore. I started actually thinking about what I wanted for myself. The first step was committing myself completely to yoga. I had practiced yoga off and on for over 10 years but it was always in addition to my other crazy workouts. I always thought that it was not enough, whatever that meant. And then one day, I realized that I really truly loved my yoga days. And why was I forcing myself to go to the gym when I would rather go to yoga? The day I let my gym membership go was like a weight being lifted off of my shoulders. And it showed in my yoga practice. Not only was I improving because I was attending regular classes but I just felt so much better in every way. Happier with myself and happier with others. I would walk into class with a smile no matter what happened in my day and I would walk out of class with a smile. Even the hottest, hardest and sweatiest classes!

Ironically, I came to realize that the poses that I also always avoided and told myself that I couldn’t do were now my favorite poses. I realized that I loved getting upside down. Headstand, arm balances, even handstand (attempts ) brings me great joy. I realized that living life upside down is really what I need to do. I needed to turn everything I always believed on its head! Sometimes everything can seem really clear when you are upside down!

When you make the decision to turn everything upside down it is just as scary as trying headstand for the first time. If you have ever tried, and I strongly encourage you to try, the first thing you worry about is that you are going to fall over. You worry that you are going to fail. That is just like breaking out of your comfort zone of doing what has always been expected and doing something that you have always thought about doing but were scared to try. You have to be ready to fall over a few times before you get it right. The feeling of being in a headstand and knowing that you have it is the same calm feeling you get when you suddenly are being true to yourself and what you want in all aspects of your life.

I am thrilled to say that as a result of living life upside down, I finally took the plunge and registered for the Teacher Training Program at Halifax Yoga starting this fall. It is the unknown and it does bring up anxious thoughts of failure or not being good enough. But just like when you plant your hands on the earth and bring up your feet up over your head. And the end result of that is a fantastic feeling! 
Sometimes you have to turn your life upside down so that you can live it right side up. 



Jody Rice-Gallagher

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