Sunday, June 17, 2012

Everyday Inversions - from a Master Teacher

I took a short break from my regular routine because I was attending a workshop from a Master Yoga teacher from India (H. S. Arun). He is known for using props creatively, especially chairs.

Accessing headstand in these ways was helpful in creating integrity. On the first day, we utilized the chair to align the spine in urdhva dandasana (headstand pike - as pictured), then eka pada sirsasana (headstand with one leg
lowered). Using chairs in these poses in incredibly helpful
for training the body to hold these poses and creating a long torso.

The second day, we utilized the chairs to bend backward
in headstand. The chair back was extremely helpful for
guidance, while the chair seat was there to press into to

I was also blessed to have him stay at my house Friday night before taking him to the train on Saturday morning. We had great discussions - especially concerning asana practice. He explained that poses should be held for extended periods of time - like 3 rounds of 5 minutes for
Downward Facing Dog, or even building up to 15 minute Parivritta Janu Sirsasana!!! I will be working on this next month :-).

With this change in my routine, I decided that I would work on other variations of headstand and shoulder stand when I got back to my normal routine. So, yesterday I decided to do 8 minutes of headstand variations and 8 minutes if shoulder stand variations.

I was surprised how quickly the time passed doing variations. Since I started this experiment, I thought that I should wait to do variations, instead building time in standard headstand and shoulder stand. I guess
I was mistaken - I am ready.

I am surprised I did not come to this conclusion sooner. I always
tell people that I learned to really hold headstand by doing
variations. It taught me balance better than holding headstand alone - it forced me to learn balance and made my head stand practice more fun.

I held each variation for about 20-30 seconds. I moved from head stand to revolved headstand (twisting my torso). Then I opened my legs into a split and twisted the torso again. I did the same with bent legs then I started doing one legged variations - lowering one leg straight down, then the other, then one leg to the side, then the other.

I was inspired by Arun and his use of back bends in headstand (as you can see in the attached pictures) so I decided to do drop-backs from shoulder stand to bridge pose - so fun!

One thing that I noticed, however, is that holding these variations for short periods did not give me the same quiet mind that holding the poses for extended periods gave me. Tonight I think I will hold these variations for longer to see what happens.

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