Before joining YTTC, i never knew Sirsasana existed. I went home devastated because I simply couldn’t bring myself to flip my legs up against the wall- fear blankets me completely. I’d rather run 42 km, ok maybe not, but at least i know how to crawl towards the finishing line!
I thought to myself- I may struggle, but I will not quit, afterall, I have PAID my fees. My very first step to learn Sirsasana was to SEE myself doing it. While visualizing, my desire to learn this pose quickly banishes my fear. I began to feel really comfortable with legs in the air idea and wonder how that feels and how can this pose be any relaxing? within next 12 hours, I started watching all youtube videos to learn the fundamental techniques, picked up various tips and started my practice. After about 30 kicks in two days, countless falls and rolls and a TCM visit to fix a stiff neck, I finally perform Sirsasana for about 5 secs (against the door).
Here are some essential know hows and baby steps to flipping our world upside down for beginners:
First, understand headstand is about engaging core and strength from your arms, shoulders, upper body and abs for the control to lift your legs. Headstand isn’t about kicking up your legs and try to balance on your head or neck. Second, be ready to fall- It’s ok fall and understand why you fall; you can only improve after every roll. Lastly, enjoy that awareness when lifting yourself up.
- interlace your fingers and place your forearms firmly against the mat so your elbows are positioned shoulder- width apart
- find out where the crown of your head is and that’s where you need to place on the mat
- Straighten your legs and walk your feet toward your head. Bend one knee and tuck it into your chest. Engage the strength from your abs and hamstring, lift your other leg off the floor so both knees are tucked into your chest
- With complete control, use your core, tuck in your sacrum, press your arms and shoulders firmly against the mat while relaxing your head and neck and slowly lift and straighten both legs up in the air. This must be done with full focus and maintain your graze at one point
- To maintain your head balance, continue to push your arms against gravity, squeeze the legs and point the toes, keep the body tight and firm to create the control
- When you’re done, take one leg down at a time and bring your heels to your bottom and forehead to the ground and relax in child’s pose
Always remember, if you get frustrated, STOP and try again the next day. Oh yes, Sirsasana is a great training for patience.
Perhaps the greatest tip of all time:
Pattabhi Jois says: “Merely putting the head down and legs up, and then standing upside down is not Shrishasana; very simply this is wrong. The entire body must stand upside down on the strength of the arms alone. If the full body burden is carried by the head, the circulation of the blood from the heart, which is flowing properly to the limbs, will be prevented from making its way to the subtle nadis in the crown of the head, which is pressed on the floor.”
Evelyn G,200hr YTTC