Monday, June 23, 2014

Five mistakes u want to avoid while learning the headstand

They won't teach this in most yoga schools, or insist on this. But here are five things you want to avoid as you begin the exciting entry into the headstand.

  • Never compromise on leg raises, especially the one where you lift the head off the floor (what I call the Sivananda leg raise:) It protects you from any injury, accidents, that may happen if you fall, as you are likely to, as a beginner. It makes the neck strong and able to withstand any fall. It also makes the neck strong, since for a few seconds as you lift up in the headstand you are going to take the whole load on to your neck. Plus, it protects the neck against the stress a beginner exerts on it initially. A beginner will strain the neck because till the coordination falls in place, a person tends to put the load of the pose on the neck. It is also held in a contracted fashion to avoid too much movement during breathing -- this is inevitable. But often this can injure the neck in the long run. Since all this is too technical, you must know the only way to grow in the headstand is to keep on practicing the leg raise. Not as an exaggeration, but as a matter of fact -- the more leg raises you do, the more control you get in the headstand.
  • Do not become attached to a particular spot of practice. We all have such choice places -- for various reasons -- more breeze in, closer to a friend, near a wall, or away from a wall. However, to be able to do the headstand anywhere, believe it or not, requires getting used to seeing the world upside down. A lot of even advanced students will be surprised how disoriented they feel just by shifting their mat to another place. If you remember the headstand is used to control the mind (which gets so disturbed by trivialities) then, you will force yourself to move about.
  • Never hold the headstand in a stiff, rigid fashion. Most people hold it like this because they feel it looks awkward to sway with every breath (ho, really, a lot of people do yoga because they feel it makes them look hot and so manage everything they do on the mat around it, including cheating wildly in a pose so their neighbor, who can only see this peripherally, is very impressed. Like, duh:) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Only when you draw proper breaths and feel the stomach cave in during every exhalation are you holding the headstand properly. Otherwise you are likely to get pain in the lower back and the neck, plus the ugly paunch (from the spine curving in) and a double chin (by working the muscle at the neck).
  • Do not try too many variations unless you mastered the basic supported headstand. Once you mastered a soft entry, in the prescribed classical style, learn to hold the headstand long and steady before you go into variations. Trying a lot of variations is good fun but to really say you can hold them, you need to first learn to do the basic, supported headstand for five minutes or more. Otherwise the variations will come, but go away from your body, just as fast. Just jumping into a pose and out of it does not require much stamina from the mind or body.
  • Never have water or any food ahead of inversions. You are going to make your epiglottal flap very loose and that will lead to acid reflux eventually. It is very foolhardy and dangerous. There should be a two-four hour gap between meal and inversions for sure.


1 comment:

Yoga Paris said...

Must learn!! Thanks for sharing