A Love Affair With Headstand – Is It Possible?

SLA_2451

Sirsasana at Saltwater Beach

Headstand preparation

Do you love doing headstand (sirsasana)? Or, does it strike fear into your heart? Maybe you like the idea of headstand, but only for other people?

Without meaning to ‘big note’ myself, I did a headstand in my first yoga class in 1971. How crazy is that? First of all, what was the teacher thinking in letting me go up into such an advanced pose?! She didn’t know me or my body, but I guess headstand was in her lesson plan. Without knowing any better, I followed her directions.

It was probably a pretty scratchy looking headstand, but the show off in me felt chuffed. What I lacked in awareness, I made up for in panache. Mindfulness was yet to come; actually, I’m still working on that.

The way that I introduce my students to headstand is through a preparatory stage using blocks.

DSC_2760

You set up four foam blocks on your mat against the wall, as pictured. If you are tall, you might want to have an extra block at the top of the stack.

Then, take a kneeling position. Interlock your fingers and place your hands between the blocks and right up against the skirting board. Straighten your legs and move your upper back so it touches the top block(s). Press your hands down, stretch your shoulders up and your head will lift off the mat. Presto, no weight on your neck.DSC_2756

(Check out the video of headstand preparation below, as well.)

Headstand pre-preparation

What if you find that the above preparation is beyond you at the moment. You may lack strength or your neck may be sore?

This chest opener will help release tightness in your upper back. It works on the rhomboids – the muscles that stabilise the shoulder blades. When rhomboids are weak or overly tight they limit movement and contribute to stiffness.PropsBlockPose 2

Set up a bolster, a folded blanket and a block as shown. Then, lie on your back with your head on the blanket and with the edges at the top of your shoulders. The block is supporting your upper back with its top edge near the bottom of your neck (C7 vertebra).

Block PoseAt first, the block may feel a trifle hard against your spine, but usually that sensation goes after a minute or so. If any discomfort persists, you can re-place the block so it lies flat or cover it with another blanket. Stay in the pose for up to 8 minutes relaxing your back and gently breathing into your front chest.

My next week’s post will give some more tips on headstand, so stay tuned….

Time, That Old Dominatrix

time I wish I had a gold coin for every time someone said, ‘I don’t have time to do yoga.’ Or, ‘I don’t have time for socialising.’  Or, ‘I don’t have time to read a book.’ I might add that I’m as likely to be dominated by time as the next person. There are plenty of variations on […]
Continue reading →

A Yoga Intensive Country-Style

EvePadmasana'90 What is a yoga intensive? We teachers often call yoga courses which run over several days ‘intensives’, but what does that mean? Are they really intense? Is that a contradiction in terms? Another word that’s used these days for this type of course is ‘immersion’. I think that’s a better expression. Intensive brings up the sense of […]
Continue reading →

2015: The Beginning Sets the Tone

egg Beginnings and Another Birthday This blog, ‘Yoga Suits Her’, has a birthday and it’s New Year’s Eve 2009. That makes her five years old. I think you’ll agree that the expression ‘time flies’ is a truism. But as a septuagenarian, I have to say time gallops. With age, I feel slower, but the tempo of time beats faster. […]
Continue reading →

2014 – The End

The End The End Always Sounds So Final Here we are, just a couple of days from the end of 2014. For some of us, we might be saying, ‘Pshew…I’m so glad I got through that one!’ Others might be resisting the end, thinking, ‘I’m never going to have a year as good as this one.’ For […]
Continue reading →

Patanjali as Summer Reading: Why Not?

patanjali A couple of years ago I was inspired to study the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. I blame Michael de Manicor of the Yoga Institute for giving me the necessary prod. I heard him speak at a Yoga Australia conference, and Michael’s talk enrolled me in finally having a look at the Old Sage’s writing. I had tried […]
Continue reading →

Combat Ageing? It’s More Fun Partying!

zena “I can’t believe Eve Grzybowski is 70. She’s a walking advertisement for the benefits of yoga to combat ageing.” When I read the above Facebook comment, which is obviously meant to be a compliment, I smiled. It brought up images of me in battle gear, all manner of weapons in hand, throwing myself against the cruel […]
Continue reading →

The Case for Practising Meditation  

milky way guest post via Michael Hollingworth The Facts We all know that meditation is supposed to be good for us, but here are some facts that make a tight case for it. Fact number one: The human brain is the most complex known object in the universe. There are 100,000 miles of circuitry – enough to go right […]
Continue reading →

Temperatures Rising? Try Cool Yoga

kangaroo island Regarding your yoga practice, when temperatures start rising, do you go to ground? I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily need to skip your yoga practice. In Aussieland, we are experiencing an early summer with the atmosphere heavy with humidity and heat. It’s not as humid in NSW as it is in the buildup to ‘The Wet’ of our tropical […]
Continue reading →