With hands planted firmly on the ground, my toes flying above me, I have never felt more alive than when I’m upside down. Yoga showed me a whole new way of life. When my perspective changed, my life changed. To do yoga is to move, flow, breathe, engage, relax… there are so many moments in yoga and the marriage is incredible. My motivation for starting was that I thought the poses were beautiful and the health benefits promising. I stay because of the way it makes me feel.
We feel in so many ways. Yoga binds them together like the pieces of a puzzle. I feel so many emotions while I’m practicing. Anger about something that happened at work. Stress, because I should be doing so many things other than yoga right now. Happiness, because have you ever felt your toes being tickled by the hair on your own head? It could make a grown man giggle! All of this that I feel on the inside bonds with what I feel on the outside. Pain in a muscle, tension in a stretch, headache, nausea, dizziness, butterflies after each break through, etc.
Feeling is emotional and it is physical. Yoga is also both of those things. I take everything that I am and everything that I feel, I plant my two hands on the ground in front of my feet, and I move. I move and I breathe. I sway and I flow. I just let go. I let it all go, and I practice. Feeling and being with myself felt strange at first. I wasn’t familiar with the idea that we must care for ourselves first and sometimes that means being selfish.
I want to experience the Earth with all of my senses and it is only available to me for a limited time. I want to put my hands in the mud and the grass, the mountains, and the beaches! Call me crazy but having my face so close to the ground is relaxing. It is firm and strong and it holds us up all day, every day! Have you ever thanked the ground for all that it does for us? Do you know what the ground smells like?
I wouldn’t recommend tasting the ground unless you were practicing on top of a garden but my point is, once I started to experience things in a new way, I became mindful. Mindful of my breath, of a feeling, of a thought. Yoga made me curious. Curiosity made me ask questions. Figuring out the answers is mindfulness. Being mindful enhances everything. Instead of merely drifting through life, I am experiencing it.
Our life is made up of experiences and we are in charge of them, not the other way around. We are a part of this universe and it is a part of us. I am determined to live my life. I want to be and move on any and every surface of the world and I want to document every single moment of it because I want to relive those moments over and over and over and over again.
Until I am still beneath the ground I walk on, I will be in motion above it.
**Photos by Shannon Coronado
Joanna Livingston spends more time on her hands than she does on her feet. The only time you’ll ever catch her standing upright for more than a few hours is when she’s working as nurse. She would definitely handstand at work too if her pockets weren’t always so full. You can find her inverted shenanigans on Instagram and Facebook.