I have been doing headstands for about a year fairly comfortably, with little to no problem getting myself upside down and seeing the world in a whole new way. I actually love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from being upside down, and knowing that it took me well over a year to get my body to obey my command and reverse the order of the universe and get upside down.
A handstand has proven to be a whole different animal. There is some additional momentum required to kick up successfully and a greater requirement of balance (only two points of balance, the hands, vs. the headstand which has three bigger points). There is almost more grace (which I don't have) required as the best handstands get up there with the most fluid of motions. I know this, because in my yoga class, students kick up so beautifully and gracefully and I would sit and stare and wonder - how come not me? It wasn't for lack of trying, or for lack of strength, but it was my fear that was keeping me from doing it. I could hop and do it.
Friend SH kept on pushing me, reminding me that I had everything that it took to do it. I had decent enough balance enough strength and the ability to do it - it was my fear that was keeping me back. She would spot for me, helping me get up and basically pushed me to keep trying. It came to the point where I said to her, "I am going to try and get upside down in a handstand every single day. And one day it will just happen." So for the past three weeks or so, I've been pushign msyelf to just lunge forward and take the plunge. I have fallen, lost my balance, landed on my butt, toppled over, knocked a chair over, all in my quest to conquer this.
And FINALLY I did it. Monday, while talking to another friend, I was feeling particularly strong and powerful, I wanted to show her what I was trying to do. She watched me, and suddenly, I got myself upside down and there I was - looking at the world from another direction. A whole new world and a whole new sensation of being upside down and balancing the opposite way. I never expected that I would be able to do it and suddenly, after I did it - well - I feel almost unstoppable. For the record, after having accomplished it yesterday, I have NOT been able to repeat it again, but as soon as I finish typing this post, I'll be heading over to try again. And I'll keep trying until I can do a handstand on demand. You wanna see one? Sure thing. Just let me practice a little bit more.
And for a little bit of fun proof- this is a pic that Daughter #2 managed to snap of me as I accomplished my feat. I think her timing to get the picture is almost more worthy than my actual time upside down. (It's blurry because both of us were moving - I was wobbling in the air and she was shaking the iphone trying to get the shot.)
The point of all this? You can't win without trying. Even this dish - I conceived of it in my head- the colors, the flavors (I'm a cilantro FREAK) and the ingredients ( I had butternut squash and cilantro to use up) pushed me to create this dish. I was concerned about some of the mixing of flavors, but really wanted to do something new. Friend SH stood by and watched as I put it together and I could see that she was doubting the combination of cinnamon with cilantro and squash. I made her come and eat lunch with me - I was blown away by my own dish. The butternut squash, cooked with the chicken drippings just becomes something spectacularly silky and rich, the perfect counterpoint to the freshness of the sauce. I dumped the sauce all over my chicken because - you can never have too much cilantro.
So take a risk for the win. Try this somewhat startling combination for dinner. You won't regret it.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cilantro Sauce and Butternut Squash
Serves 4 to 6
Roasted Chicken and Squash
3 lbs skin on, bone in, chicken things (about 8)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ lbs butternut squash, cut into 2 inch chunks (smaller will cook too quickly)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
Rub chicken with olive oil, pepper and salt Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This gives the salt a bit of time to season the meat.
Remove chicken from fridge about 20 minutes before you want to roast it.
Preheat oven to 500.
Toss butternut squash chunks with olive oil, honey, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Place on a roasting pan. Add chicken pieces covering the surface of the squash, skin side up.
Roast for 30 minutes. Take out from oven. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
2 cups cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
½ cup Italian parsley, leaves and stems, roughly chopped
½ cup good extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Place all ingredients for cilantro sauce into a food processor, or mini prep. Pulse until ingredients are all well incorporated and the sauce is runny. If necessary, add more olive oil. Check seasonings and adjust. Allow flavors to meld at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers. Tastes great drizzled on any protein.