During my last post, I shared the inspiring tale of Arthur, a disabled Gulf war paratrooper and veteran who returned home with limited mobility. He could not walk without elbow crutches and his physicians advised him that this was his fate for the rest of his life (shame on them). His sedentary life caused him to become morbidly obese. Yet, he found one yoga instructor who was willing to take him on. Arthur's video showed how he started as an absolute yoga beginner falling and tumbling over during several poses. Yet, consistent practice over time enabled Arthur to master difficult poses including the headstand!
The yoga headstand is one pose that I never tried for more than a split second. I tend to become discombobulated when I go upside down- I lose my balance. Despite swim lessons, as a child and teenager I could never do flip overs when reaching the end of a lap in a pool. Although I can lift myself into the shoulder stand, the head stand has intimidated me for years. However, Arthur's video so inspired me that I decided to start teaching myself the yoga headstand.
Today I gave myself my first lesson. I picked up one of my first yoga books -and you can tell it's a first, the pages are greatly yellowed and falling apart. But, I was able to find detailed instructions for the head stand. I carefully read and re-read the instructions and studied the photographs. (By the way, I haven't learned a new pose in some time - it was about time I did so!) I clasped my hands around my head as you see above and formed a triangle with my elbows and stretched out my legs. I had to try this though a few times. I felt awkward - kind of like driving a stick shift for the first time.
And, I followed my own advice - taking baby steps and being very careful of how my body felt. I noticed my head and neck felt a bit tight (I have been sleeping in an awkward position the past few days) so I was most cautious. The neck can be very delicate. I went only as far as was comfortable - somewhere between illustrations 3 and 4 shown above. And, that was that. That is as far as I felt I should go! I am going to continue to practicing a bit of this pose during the week and every weekend. I will share my results. There are no guarantees that I will be able to do the headstand, but my intention is to at least try it so I can further expand my yoga regime.
Yours for trying new yoga poses with caution and patience,
Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the Beginners' Yoga at Home Coach