Archive for April, 2010

Confessions of a Yoga Nerd: headstand and shoulderstand

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Two months ago the rains in Los Angeles broke up my favorite daily pastime of late; my 90 minute hike up in the mountains very close to where I live. I thought that it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to stay home and do some yoga. I thought I would do a head and shoulderstand series. I decided to take on the session from my time in Australia with Martin Jackson. The session is a total of ONE HOUR. Now, let me begin by saying that this is not my usual Modus operandi. I have taken classes where I have had to hold head and shoulder stand for really long times, but other then an occasional 10 min headstand, my home practice of inversions has been very thin.    

To date it has now been day 59. I can honestly claim that this has been almost every day. But now I have decided to write about it. I think someone might be interested in it. At least it might stop me from talking about it with people who are definitely not interested. The bottom line is, I have become a yoga nerd. Truly I say this after much contemplation on it, hence the nerdiness of it all.

Now I am still hiking for 90 minutes almost every day, but I have now added an hour inversion with relaxation, which is now part of the project. But this is the only thing I talk about! I must do this just to see what happens. I am the lab experiment. Will my neck break? Will I use one blanket or two, or three? This is my introduction to allow myself a space to discuss the profound (in my opinion) changes, although subtle, that I have been experiencing daily from this practice.

Day 59 and the changes are constant, day to day. Although the changes are surprising on the physical level but a profound change, which, I can say, has extended beyond my headstand practice into my meditation practice. To be able to sustain the intensity from subtle movements that I have never had in these poses before as well as the mental tenacity to stay in the position with these adjustments demand total focus. Yoga. Excess thoughts are burdens. Baggage.

This intense practice has given me new insight into where I want to be when I meditate.  Isn’t that what yoga is about, to lead us to a calm state of mind? After more then thirty years of practice, another layer of the onion skin is pealing away.