First Solo Against-The-Wall Headstand

I’ve been practicing the against-the-wall headstand for about a month now, and aside from the time a professor helped me do a headstand, I hadn’t been able to get my hips over my head.

Suddenly yesterday, during an at-home-practice, my feet were magically up. I was a little surprised because I had zero expectations of making any progress during my 15-minute yoga session. I also hadn’t gone to a class in over a week due to scheduling issues. But for whatever reason, yesterday was the day.

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Walls are handy-dandy when learning headstand!

To prepare myself for the asana, I’d been doing a few different things. First, I was putting my head and forearms on the floor and doing a sort of down dog as I walked my feet closer and closer to my head (I believe the teacher called this prepping for a bound headstand).

I was also working on making an L shape against the wall – I’d put my forearms and head down about three feet from the wall, with my face toward the wall. Then I’d walk my feet up the wall until my body was in an L shape.

Although I know these poses helped me build strength, I think much of learning to do a headstand was just eliminating fear. Fear that I would fall over, fear that I wasn’t strong enough, fear that I would hurt myself. When I stopped being afraid my legs just kicked over and I realized it wasn’t even difficult.

Sometimes all you need to brighten your day is a little unexpected yoga progress!

Anyone else had any progress lately?

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An Econ Prof Taught Me Headstand

When I started this blog, the topics of yoga and my MBA seemed mutually exclusive. I thought – I’ll write about yoga one day, then business a few days later. After all, charts, graphs, and data dumps are basically polar opposites of meditation and breath. Yet, every now and then, worlds collide!

This is how I look when I do a headstand.

I started at my current yoga studio in August, and at one of my first classes I recognized an economics professor from my school. I’d never taken his economics class, but I remembered him as a sponsor of an undergraduate team at a university case competition.

Over the weeks we began chatting, and we often frequented the same Ashtanga class. As many of you know, sirsasana (headstand) is part of the finishing sequence of the primary series. After a few weeks of watching me flounder in my sirsasana attempts, I think the prof’s teacher instincts took over, and he came over and helped me get my hips over my head! He also gave me some tips about how to adjust my form and how to strengthen my shoulders.

Unfortunately, I am still not doing headstand on my own, but I can tell it’s not far away! Also, my mind is blown over the whole experience. How many MBA students can say their b-school prof taught them a tricky asana?

Has anyone else found a random acquaintance in your yoga class?

My First Yoga Doubleheader

In the spirit of the baseball postseason (just kidding, the timing was coincidental), I had my very first yoga doubleheader yesterday!

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This might be a new life goal: a handstand on a rock by a lake in front of a mountain.

I didn’t head to class intending to stay for two, but class number one didn’t hit the spot. I was super energized, and my first class was too mellow – I needed a way to channel my energy into something more active. Thus, I stayed for class numero dos.

And am I glad I did, because the teacher did a handstand workshop! I have yet to do a handstand, but before yesterday I’d never tried. In fact, I didn’t even know what types of prep moves I needed to do to start building confidence and strength.

We started with several arm strengthening poses (downward facing dog, chaturangas, etc.), then we did some wall work (L-handstand), and wrapped up with some partner work.

I can’t recall the last time I left class feeling so refreshed and excited about my practice. I have to admit, that part of my yogic lull is tied to the fact that my current studio is a bummer. Although there are tons of class names (meditative yoga, radiant yoga, expressionist yoga), every single one seems the same to me. Sometimes I need a good old vinyasa flow class, and this place just doesn’t have that. Anyhoo, I have eight or so more classes there till I will likely be moving on once again.

Anyone else enjoyed doubleheaders in the past? Or maybe regularly?

Anyone have any tips for learning handstand?