Wednesday, January 10, 2007

YOGA | Headstands

I've been trying to keep up a 5~6 times a week schedule for my yoga practice -- call it a New Year resolution if you may. There are times when I feel really tired, and I skip a few classes in a row. But on the whole, I've managed to maintain the practice.

But there are only 24 hours in one day, so some things have to give; I'm reading less these days. And my social life -- give me sufficient notice, and I'll try to work around my yoga schedule for appointments. Probably the only way I can find time to do everything I want is to quit my job. Then I'll just end up destitute and starving. The world is poorly made.

Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand)

A report on my progress: I've now managed to come up to a Supported Headstand for a few seconds -- unassisted. I've also noticed a difference between practicing against a wall (which stops me from falling backwards), and practicing in the middle of the room. The practice in the middle of the class always feels less successful, as though my body don't work as well when I don't have the wall for a safety net. This is obviously psychological forces at work.

It seems to me, the greatest obstacle to the headstand is not strength or balance -- it is fear. Ive seen students in class who are strong in their practice -- stronger than me -- but when it comes to going up in headstands, they retreat. I wish they could just try it, for once. Maybe with assistance. Maybe they will realise it's not going to break their neck. Maybe the worst thing that will happen to them is to fall. You fall. Then you get up and try again. Sometimes, the falling is the fun part.

But all things in their own time. I'm being a busybody

Meanwhile, I am running head-first into headstands. The first time I tried it in class -- without assistance mind you, my teacher came running, in case I hurt myself. (This is the story of my mother when I was growing up -- forever panicking, running after me before I try something that will hurt myself.)

She helped me up and I came out of the assisted headstand with a wide, shit-eating grin on my face. I love the thrill of going up, even if it's for a brief few seconds.

I know I'm not braver than the other students. But I am more impulsive and foolhardy. Sometimes I move too fast to think about being afraid. It's amazing how stupidity can often be mistaken for courage. Or how fear is often just a result of the mind.

Meanwhile, need to work on the headstands more.


The Traveller said...

People who can do yoga scare me - I went to a class with some friends once, and was in extreme pain for a few days afterwards. Who thought stretching and holding certain positions could prove so challenging?! I am very in awe of your ability to do headstands, especially - congrats!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the fear issue. I tried doing a supported headstand but it was just frightening letting your body try that. That's great that you've been keeping up with your yoga.

Heather said...

headstands! yea! this reminds me of when I was a kid, taking gym-lastics as I called it. I tried and tried to do a cartwheel but no success...then the day of the test came and we had to do a cartwheel in order to officially pass and get a star on the certificate. Wonder of wonders I did the bloody cartwheel and haven't been able to do one since!


Carl V. Anderson said...

I have to laugh looking at that picture. There is no way I could get myself into a headstand like that!

Rebecca H. said...

I agree completely about fear being the most important factor -- and that's one of the best things about learning how to do inversions, overcoming the fear.