I was on cloud nine when I finally accomplished the Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand) after many failed attempts that resulted in landing my face flat on the floor, and bruised knees. It was practiced at home and I managed to hold the pose for two seconds, then slowly progressing to five. I thought I was pretty good. Imagine my dismay when I witnessed ladies in their silver years not only could hold the pose in minutes, they were also gracefully getting into the variety of handstands, flying into the I-can’t-even-do-it-in-my-dreams poses. My confidence dipped to level 0.2357.
That was before I embarked on the YTT journey. During the first week of the course, I learned that instead of kicking and hopping with momentum to get into the pose (which is a no-no), I should always engage my hip flexors and shoulder blades. This helps to balance when I’m inverted as well. My forearms should be firmly pressed on the mat without sliding the elbows outwards (they call this mistake “the chicken wing”) to hold the weight of the body. There should be very little weight on the head and neck. I became more aware of not crushing my neck – keeping my shoulders away from my ears, rounding instead of arching my lower back by engaging my core, and focusing on Ujjayi breathing. With all that, I “swayed” (still working on keeping those damn legs straight and steady!) in the pose for almost two minutes! Confidence leveled up to 3.2745.
Note to self: As important it is to achieve the peak pose, it is crucial to learn the basic, proper techniques first. Not only to prevent injuries, but to reap the full benefits from doing them right. Be patient and practice, practice, practice!
“MEL” Jan ’17, 200hrsYTT