There is a moment towards the end of yoga class that sends fear into my heart……inversions.
Give me a shoulder stand and I am happy, relaxed and ready to unwind towards the final relaxation. Lovely. But give me a headstand and I seem to lose all ability to balance/ lift my legs/concentrate.
This is a fine example of my somewhat lazy temperament. If left to my own devises I will pick only the easy postures that I can do with little effort. I will then practice them a lot thus making them even easier and me even less likely to bother with anything else….
To try to get around this (and as a result of a plateau in my improvement) a couple of years ago I started going to a dynamic flow class for more of a challenge ( I’m never quite sure what the difference is between this and ashtanga and now I’ve been doing it for too long to ask without being embarrassed).
Much as I loved my old hatha class I have seen a huge improvement in my strength and flexibility. Almost all of my postures have improved and I can hold them for much longer. Everything, that is, except for my headstand. Previously I had studiously avoided trying headstand as I decided that it looked like something that I wouldn’t be able to do. Being aware that with such an attitude I would certainly never progress I started giving it a go (well I say that but really I didn’t have much option as everyone else in class was doing it) the first week was a slightly poor effort with my feet not even leaving the ground but I was sure that a steady improvement would follow and in a month or two I would have an awesome headstand under my belt. hmmmmmm. Nearly two years later and I’ve only just managed to get my feet off the floor and my knees balanced on my elbows and tripod headstand is a distant dream!
I am aware of course that yoga is not a competition, that there is no rush and that everyone’s body is made differently and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Indeed, I’m often reminding other people when they have a moment of doubt. But much as I try I don’t seem to be able to apply this to my headstand. Instead I approach it with trepidation and resignation as I try not to shoot a look around the room and catch a brand new yogi getting it right in their first class (this happens with surprising frequency ).
Finally during a particularly lovely class I realised where I was going wrong. After some weeks focus in my weekend practice at home I finally achieved a smooth transition from tree to warrior 3 and then to warrior 1 and it occurred to me that I have never (ever) even thought about working on headstand at home.
Having found where I was going wrong all I need to do now is put the new plan into practice. So this weekend I will start the process of making friends with the headstand. Wish me luck!