FEAR AND FARTING GLITTER This was the class at the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park that my mom feared the most -- handstands.

I'd forced her to sign up for this class.

The YJ Conference has become a mother-daughter tradition for us...if you can have a tradition after two years. But it already feels like our thing. Last year, Mom was a yoga newbie, green to both the big-name yoga teachers and their workshopping style alike. After last year's conference, Mom signed up for yoga teacher training and is now a teacher.

So when she told me she was still afraid of doing handstands, I made her sign up for Shannon Paige's handstands class with me. Because a woman who takes the yogic bull (or sacred cow?) by the horns and decides to do teacher training, signs up and finishes it in under a year can overcome a fear of handstands.

Mom was nervously laughing on the way to the class. But when we arrived, Shannon said the right thing: You're my kind of class, because if you signed up for handstands at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, your mantra must be, "I am a badass."

Fear-fighting inspiration. Mom was in good hands.

As Shannon worked us through a rigorous practice to prepare us for those glorious upside-down moments, she told stories and jokes to cut the tension. For example, she said that one of the most important things that her teacher Shiva Rea ever told her about yoga was to pull her head out of her ass.


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When it was time to try handstands, Mom caught a glimpse of the power and balance one can find in upside-down poses and was giddy and loved it.

I took something different away from the class -- humility. I kicked too hard and felt a pull in my hip. You often hear yoga teachers say "you're stronger than you think," but I think I'm stronger than I am, at least for poses that take careful position and practice.

Shannon gave me an assist on my humility check. She said that another well-known yoga teacher moves through sun salutations with such fluidity and grace that he's "like an angel farting glitter." I snorted. It was perfect. I've had fleeing moments of fluidity and grace on the mat. They can fall into ugly moments, like this one, with an injured hip. It happens. It's life.

Thank you, Shannon. I'll try to keep my head out of my ass.

-- Jenn Fields