Friday, March 05, 2010

inverted nightmares

Ahh, the thrill of balancing on your hands...And crashing onto your face....hehe. Now lets move on. ;)

Just got this is in my inbox from Yoga Journal....

"In a culture that emphasizes competition and achievement, some students are clearly flinging themselves into inversions too soon. Add to that the desultory nature of many people's practices—one class a week at best, on a drop-in basis—and classes that are too large for the teacher to see everyone in a given pose, and you have the recipe for a potential disaster.

Sirsasana (Headstand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) are seductive poses—physically challenging, visually dramatic, and exhilarating. They are also surprisingly accessible. Despite the limitations of a tight lower back or hamstrings, most yoga practitioners can move into an inversion relatively easily.

But beginning and veteran yoga students alike are showing up in the offices of bodyworkers, chiropractors, and medical professionals with compression of the upper spine and impaired mobility in the neck, presumably from the practice of inversions.

Luckily, you don't have to become a yoga casualty by jumping into inversions before you're ready. If you are new to yoga, take your time before inverting—a year (or even three) is not too long. Work closely with an observant and knowledgeable teacher. Attend class regularly. Learn the fundamentals: Find the extension of the spine, open the shoulders, and develop balance, clarity, and strength within beginner poses first."

It's been months since I've regularly practiced headstand or shoulderstand. And I've found myself teaching inversions much less in classes.

What? Teaching the "king" and "queen" asanas less often? Yep. I completely agree with the article that most of us can get ourselves into an inversion, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should be there.

I was a bit reluctant to give up my oh so loved headstand. I liked it. It's kinda cool to stand on your head as an adult. Much like standing on your hands.

But a sore neck, tight shoulders and back, physical therapist (that would be Tracy) and medical based yoga therapy teacher that only teaches "non weight bearing headstands" has taught me to think a little bit differently about going upside down.

In fact, I find that over time I am backing more out of poses that I did in my younger years. Rather than feeling like I'm regressing, I feel like I'm progressing because I'm listening more intently to my body and paying close attention to my needs.

I haven't sworn off headstand forever. I'm pretty certain they'll be incorporated back into my practice. But in the meantime there are other ways to get the benefits of inverting.

Hello legs up the wall. It's so nice to meet you again. :)

**Want to read more about headstand? Check it out here. And if you're not certain if headstand or shoulderstand is right for you, talk to your teacher before or after class.**

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