The Dreaded Sirsasana!

When I signed up to the 200hr weekend course I knew that it would be challenging but ‘WOW’. I have been doing yoga on and off for years but all the classes were 45 to 60 mins long. When I arrived the first morning to a room of excited, tired but positive group of people I knew it was going to be a good class, but three hours of yoga, what a shock to the system but a good shock. The First two classes were tough going and thank god I wasn’t the only one feeling like that. By lesson three and four my fitness was definitely improving. I did attend other yoga classes in the week to try and help improve my fitness faster. Then it happened ‘INVERSIONS’, First there was Sirsasana (Headstand), then Bakasana (Crow) and Tittibasana (Firefly Pose). I struggled with all three. My upper body strength just wasn’t strong enough to carry my weight as I am bottom heavy. I needed to increase my arm strength especially my triceps, they were super weak. You forget how all easy these all seemed when you were younger and used to do them with ease.
I started doing body pump classes to build my strength and practiced the inversions at home. I was so frustrated that I could not do them when some people did them with such ease. I had to be able to do them in order to pass. I did not want to be the only one in the class who couldn’t do them.
To give you some background on the pose, Sirsasana is known as “the queen of poses”, and the reason relates to the effect it has on the brain and mind. The inversion of this pose causes increased and unrestricted blood flow to the brain. This brings increased oxygen, nutrient and vitality providing energy to the mind, clarity of thought and ease of concentration.
The increased blood flow to the head stimulates the pituitary gland, considered to be the “master gland”, controlling the function of the endocrine system including the thyroid, adrenal gland, ovaries and testes among others. These glands in turn regulate metabolism, growth, blood pressure, sexuality and other fundamental body functions. An imbalance of the secretion of the various hormones produced by the pituitary gland can lead to many serious disorders of the endocrine system.
In yogic terms, the increased blood flow to the head helps to awaken the Sahasrara (crown) Chakra (energy center). Sahasrara is considered to be the most important Chakra intimately connected to, and influencing, all other Chakras and controlling consciousness. It is when the Kundalini energy unites with the Sahasrara Chakra that the yogi achieves Samadhi, becoming enlightened and united with the universe and god.
Well after two months of practice I can just about get up, it’s still not perfect but I can hold headstand finally for nearly a minute. I still need to keep practicing to improve my form and time but we got there even though I thought it was impossible being bottom heavy and weak in the arms.
Niki Clarke
200hrs Weekend Course

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