If I remember correctly, we started learning about headstand on the 7th day.
While my classmates managed to come up to a headstand, I remained stuck on the ground, unable to bring my legs up. It’s not even about trying to hold a headstand, but I couldn’t even bring myself to a headstand position! And so I remained on the mat, doing cat-cow, trying to improve my upper body flexibility and watching my classmates. I was rather worried actually – what if I can’t achieve headstand by the end of YTT? can I still consider myself as a teacher?
I went home, read different sources on what to do to achieve a headstand and googled my worries on not being able to invert as a teacher. I decided that, ok, perhaps my body is not ready yet. There are a lot of elements needed to put together a safe headstand. Maybe if I slow down and take my time to work on the different parts of the body separately, it will eventually come together and one day I will be ready to invert?
With every unsuccessful try, I reminded myself not to get frustrated or beat myself up for being unable to invert. Somehow I felt that it would be unhealthy to do so. (reference to 8 limbs of yoga)
4 lessons later, we learnt Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand). There was a lot of shoulder-opening exercises to warm-up and prepare the shoulders for forearm stand. Similarly, my classmates could bring themselves up to forearm stand after all these exercises. But me! I was stuck, again. I found it really hard to relax my shoulders and my neck-shoulders always felt so uncomfortable in Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose). I couldn’t keep my forearms flat and steady on the ground, they always tend to move as I move my upper body. There was absolutely no way I could do Forearm Stand.
And so we were given the wheel as a prop to practice Forearm Stand. Holding onto the wheel would help to keep the forearms steady on the mat, but here comes another problem – I had the tendency to shift my gaze – my head wasn’t steady and would often drop and my eyes would gaze backwards. Because of this, I took a really long time to be able to come into an assisted Forearm Stand. But when I finally achieved that, it felt great!
After this, I was asked to go into a headstand (against the wall), which I definitely didn’t think it was possible because I haven’t been able to do so in the past 2 weeks. But I gave it a try, and when my legs went up to the wall so lightly and quickly, I was like WOOOOAAAAAAH. I was so shocked that I came down to the mat immediately. It felt super easy compared to 2 weeks ago! This was definitely proof that my shoulders had opened up so much from the shoulders-opening exercises and forearm poses on the same day.
^^^^^^^^^^ This was all in March
Fast forward to today, 20 April, I definitely feel that my tight shoulders have opened up so much compared to when I first started YTT. I can now try to do a Forearm Stand with my forearms steady on the mat (sounds simple but it really is a personal achievement for me! haha). I really am satisfied with all these changes that I’ve felt in my body so far and hope to achieve more as I progress through YTT and my personal yoga journey.