Breakthrough in practising yoga

January 14, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Sirsasana I’ve just realized that I’ve never written a Yoga post so far, although I’ve got the habit of gushing about it at any given opportunity. It’s not that I’m a terribly advanced or devoted Yogini, certainly not when it comes to actual practice: I tend to speak about the benefits of Yoga more than I’m actually practising it (or at least that is the impression that I sometimes get myself).

I normally practise 15 to 30 minutes of Pranayama, in particular breathing exercises, in the mornings. I would like to do more of Hatha Yoga, but somehow that doesn’t come to pass at the moment (three to four sessions a month seems to be the most that I manage to do right now.

Anyhow, as I was speaking about a breakthrough: I took my first (Hatha) yoga lesson in November 2000 (at one of the German Yoga Vidya centres which I highly recommend to everyone who is interested in Yoga as a holistic practice – those who look at Yoga as a recent trend in physical workout should stick to their local gym).

And today, i.e. more than six years later, I managed for the first time to do Sirsana (the headstand) properly. I got into it without any help, and managed to stand in it for roughly 5-10 secondsand without the support of a wall to lean against ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s apparently not me in the picture, but an illustration from the Yoga Vidya pages.

Other minor achievements of the day: I timed the seconds that I managed to hold my breath during Kapalabhati (a breathing technique). Mind you: Yoga isn’t a competition, and the aim of Kapalabhati is not to hold your breath for as long as you can – according to the concept of Ahimsa, you should avoid any injury, both afflicted upon yourself or on others. But I was just curious, because the exercise went pretty well today. I started with 38 secons, then going to 50 and 57, and in my last round, I was able to hold my breath for 1 minute and 9 seconds ๐Ÿ™‚


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  1. I managed to do the headstand after approx. 8 months of doing Yoga. Not showing off here, but it was simply one of the techniques we were taught. Back then, I did a total of 2 Hatha Yoga courses: Beginners and intermediate. The highlight of the intermediate course was the headstand and I managed to do it pretty quickly without a wall to lean against. It was a pretty amazing feeling, all light-headed and high ๐Ÿ™‚

    I haven’t done any Yoga since but I still have the benefits from back then such as really good posture and indifference to the rest of the world ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. I know, for some the headstand is fairly easy, for some it isn’t, which is more of a psychological thing than anything else. I had always been afraid of it, in the same way that I am afraid of biking downhill (anything where you might gather too much speed or momentum).

    With the headstand, it were
    1) the part where you lift your feet off the ground (I was afraid of falling back over) and
    2) the part where you raise your legs upright.

    I think I mastered 1) about two years ago (i.e. learned to lift my feet off the ground as slowly as possible, applying as little force as necessary), but then was quite happy with just leaning against the wall in the upright position. Became more ambitious about half a year ago.

    Btw, on Friday, I had a very nice chat with Albert Kรผmmel (remember?) over the phone. He, on his behalf, had had a chat with a yoga instructor from Ulm who said that the West is apparently obsessed with two asanas: the lotus position (difficult for many, very easy for me because my legs and arms seem to be so loosely attached to my torso) and the headstand (difficult for many). As a result, there are tons of seminars solely developed to learn either of these (in particular the headstand) – she thought that that was odd, as there are many different easier positions with the same benefit.

    Suppose the headstand is too monolithic (phallic) an asana not to be much envied in the West ๐Ÿ™‚ And it felt pretty amazing indeed to finally master it ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. I just happened to find this page by accident, I JUST got home from a yoga workshop at the studio near me, I’ve been practicing Hatha since last January, recently picked up ashtanga in December. Today I not only did my first handstand but also my first headstand, both unassisted! I couldn’t believe the sensation once I got up, like floating, and maintained both for about a minute with relative ease. Amazing what alignment can do!

  4. Whoooo, congratulations! Handstand – meaning the Scorpio? Or the crow? I’ve never managed to do either of them… respect!

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