Do you find head stand poses are hard for you? I feel you. I have been practicing yoga for a while but Headstand still a challenge for me.
I started yoga with much limitations and difficulties in my body. I have scoliosis, where my thoracic spine curve 40 degree to the right and left shoulder slanted 15 degree lower than the right side which caused compression within the shoulder joints and created protrusions on the left shoulder blade. Anatomically, due to this instability of the shoulder girdle, my left hip bone pulled upward about 5 degree more than the right which make me feel that my right leg longer than my left. *gasp* I know
I wasn’t born with the condition, it was scoliosis that was develop in adolescence and I only came to know of it when I was in car accident in my 20s, to which explain all the pains and migraines I used to have and also explain the weird looking protrusion on the left front part of my body which is my left rib cage pushing out. Yup! I started yoga with all these to overcome.
Within a year of practice, my asthma, migraines, organs disruptions created by the compression was gone and took about 8 years to visibly see the difference in the curvature, now I only have what they call slight 10 degree of deviations. The practice created a new center for me, but if I am not careful, they easily get all tweaked out and misaligned. Headstand require much stability on the upper body strength, shoulder and the thoracic part of the spine to keep the pose. There are moments when I felt so down and angry at the limitations of my body
Here are things I have learned from my struggle:
1) Acceptance: this pose is a biggie in teaching me about acceptance – to accept myself, my body, my condition the way it is. This is the challenged card that had been presented, getting angry and frustrated will not help. As soon as I accept my physical setbacks, rather than punishing it for not being able to ‘perform’ and saying many negative things in my head, I learned to be my own best cheerleader turned those negative self talk to positive one.
2) Patience: Once I accepted, the next thing is to be patient with the progress, aside from the positive self talk, I need to be patient with my own growth. Everybody has their different speed and level of understanding and I do too, there is no winner or loser, the only competition is with the practice I had the day before.
3) Mindfulness: because of my physical limitations, I learned to be fully aware of the pose by committing to my breath and being very aware in my body and having my mind very present in the pose so that I would not hurt myself further. Truthfully, this is key in any yoga poses
4) Its OK to Fall: it is important to remind myself, falling or coming out of the pose doesn’t equate to Failing in life, NO! I am trying to do something new, something difficult and falling is part and parcel of it; it doesn’t mean that I am unworthy or pathetic. EVERYBODY FAllS in the beginning! Giving myself permission to fall took the pressure off in getting the pose ‘perfect’. Besides falling at something is a good sign that I am trying. so keep at it
5) Have Fun: I tend to take my practice super seriously, but falling off many times taught me to ‘take it easy’ and have fun! laugh to myself, imagining if there was a video running to record that epic fall…whoa…funniest moment. It is really important to have a laugh with the practice and have a laugh with myself. After all the practice is time I have for my own exploration, to truly learned about myself, to spend loving happy moment with myself before I get back on multitasking our many different layers of roles.
These shifts in mental attitudes learned from the mat is totally applicable to life situations off the mat. This is why we get back on our mat again and again, this is the laboratory to turn and work on our mental attitudes so than we can have those learning translated well in our life.
It is always a good time to go upside down EXCEPT for ladies who are in their monthly cycle! So whenever you are feeling blue, mental block, need a little bit of fun, get upside down, get on your head, see the world from a different perspective, you will be surprise what you will find when you get back on your feet again.