Learning headstand is fun and challenging in equal parts. I have had 5 sessions so far and I have been fairly unsuccessful.
First attempt ever… it was not really an attempt. I was just a couple of weeks old in yoga classes and my teacher said I am not taking you up, just follow my instructions. I believed her; I felt light and I was up. Ever since then, I have never felt light in the feet while going up. And sometimes I wonder if it was the lack of fear on day 1 that made me feel light and go up. I have this feeling that I will probably manage it comfortably only when I get that light feeling back in my legs. And that will happen only when I let go of the fear of falling… well, easy said than done. Lesson no 1: Let go of the fear of falling. My teacher repeated this many a times before I officially started attempting headstands. She says its physically unnatural for body to fall backwards but the fear in mind ensures that you fall backwards. And I saw myself almost falling backwards. I have still not managed to get rid of this fear.
Second attempt… after a few classes, I was allowed to start attempting headstand with clear instructions that I only have 8 sessions to learn it… this was officially the first. I went up with the support of my teacher; I had no clear focus and my whole body shook with absolutely no balance. I fell down sideways with an audible sound and shriek. I am still embarrassed about that moment. My teacher exclaimed, what drama man! Lesson no 2: Never get too excited. Those cliché words used in context of yoga, ‘concentration’ and ‘focus’, are actually quite relevant.
Third attempt… fell again.. went lightly up with support… but basically failed. Lesson no 3: my teacher said look at the size of your feet on which you are standing and look at the size of headstand base, ie, arms and head. And I was like OMG, how come I never noticed that before. We are standing on something that small and I am not able to balance my body on something bigger than that.
Fourth attempt… good thing here was that I managed the second stage with both feet curled up next to the chest and stay for a couple of heartbeats… but the moment I tried to go up, I became wobbly. My teacher gave me instructions and I got confused. She asked me afterwards if the instructions were too difficult to follow. And I just said what happened to me, ie, I couldn’t control my leg movement. Immediately came the response, of course you can. These are voluntary muscles. Lesson no 4: legs and hands are voluntary muscles; your brain directs them what to do. You can direct them what to do. Heart, eg, has involuntary muscles. It will move in a certain fashion that you can’t change. But I can direct my hands and legs to do whatever I want.
Fifth attempt… well, just failed… went up with difficulty, couldn’t stay up… another girl in class told me later on that I couldn’t focus, my legs and body were not straight and I couldn’t find a center. Lesson no 5: find a focus somewhere ahead on the ground where you are looking… let your eyes focus on a single point in front of them
Sixth attempt… went up but wobbly and tilted
Seventh attempt… officially sixth… I have now 3 sessions left to learn headstand as per my teacher’s rule… I am little excited, little nervous, little impatient… I really just want to learn this quickly so that I can start doing it in every class like a routine and reap its benefit… sounds a little greedy… but some motivation always helps 🙂
Let’s see what happens today