Sirsasana or headstand is a yoga inversion that is often called the king of all asanas or postures. I do not know why and my best guess is because it looks cool.
Many beginners use headstand as a measure of progress, as well as practicing other advanced asanas. I thought the same before attending my yoga teacher training course, but not anymore.
Actually, there were only two people in my class who can already do a headstand. We eventually learned it in our Hatha yoga class, and interestingly, I made it on my first try, mainly because our teacher pretty much balanced me like an inverted chess piece. He was very good.
Doing it alone is a different story though. The next time we practiced headstand is during our Ashtanga yoga class. We all pushed our mats towards the wall and started getting into the preparatory postures: from downward dog or adho mukha shvanasana to dolphin or ardha pincha mayurasana. From here, it is about lifting one leg after the other using the core, activating the shoulders and back muscles, and balancing on the head and forearms while lifting the entire body up. Most people kick up, but this is not the safest way to do it.
My Ashtanga yoga teacher commented that I can easily lift up but not hold the posture. No surprise, I only tried to headstand a few days ago, no? But I kept practicing against the wall until our course ended. I am stubborn like that. I enjoy doing things that I cannot do.
From India, Markus and I flew to Bali and back into our tiny place with its lovely balcony and small garden and jungle views in front. It kind of sounds like our tiny house now, because we pretty much built it inspired by our time in Bali.
In this garden, I set out to nail my headstand. There are no walls now. What am I going to do? I was often stuck at dolphin because I get mini-heart attacks every time I would wobble in attempting to lift myself upside down. Falling terrified me.
Then, one morning, I knelt on my mat and decided I did not care if I fall. We have plenty of grass to catch me. It will be fine. What if my neck broke? I will worry about that when it happens.
It did not. I was able to hold a headstand on my first try. I kept going, and sometimes I would make it, other times not. The grass cushioned my fall and I found that I still managed to control my body while falling. It was not so bad. It even made me laugh.
This change in mindset made all the difference for my headstand practice. It remains one of my favorite postures and I find it infinitely relaxing. The world looks and feels different when you are upside down. Like things slow down, somehow.
I am glad I was able to overcome myself. My body was ready for a long time, but my mind was not. Once I was fine with falling, I made it up. I suspect many things in life happen like how I learned to headstand. We have to breakthrough. After, the possibilities are endless. Is there anything you are trying to learn today?