A few days ago, my world literally turned upside down as I finally did a pose I almost thought I’d never get to do: a headstand. You see, I’m not fond of full inversions. Some people think it’s the best part of yoga, others are neutral but can still do it regardless, and then there’s me—the student who thinks of all the worst-case scenarios that can happen to her while upside down, a la Final Destination.
The First Time I Went Upside Down
My first encounter with a headstand was back in February 2016, which also happens to be the month I started practicing yoga. It was during my fourth session when my yoga teacher asked us to go against the wall and experience what a headstand feels like. As expected, I panicked and went down with a loud thud—no control, whatsoever. And that wasn’t the only time I did that.
I kept encountering this pose cued during class, and I kept struggling with it as well. There came a point where I could finally balance myself into an egg, legs tucked to my chest and all—but if I don’t get to practice it enough, my body would “forget” learning it in the first place.
Earlier this year, I felt like I came close to achieving a headstand many times. It took a lot of patience from both my end and my teacher since I lifted very slowly. But I never quite made it, and I suspect it was because I was overthinking it.
I had a long yoga break towards the latter part of April until mid-July because of two trips and moving to a new house. That threw me off balance, and I could feel the impact on my yoga practice, or lack thereof. Suddenly, the past year’s training seemed discredited, and I was back to breathing unevenly and sweating so much during class. I felt less stable, and my hamstrings got super tight. It took a while for me to get back to my groove, and I honestly don’t feel like I’m back on track yet, but some days would feel truly exceptional, and I’d open up like I’ve been doing yoga for five years or something.
Nailing the Headstand
That’s exactly what happened last Saturday. Funnily enough, at the beginning of that class, my teacher said something along the lines of, “We’ll do a lot of core work today in preparation for a headstand—but don’t worry! We won’t do a headstand. Or, maybe we will.” To which I responded, “Wait. What?” We laughed it off, embraced Power Hatha, and forgot about that moment. Until we had to go down to our dolphin planks, that is.
“You may practice your headstand now, or you may stay in your dolphin plank. If you’re coming up, let me know so I can assist you,” my teacher said. I silently looked up at her, because I was feeling uncharacteristically brave, and she stood behind me to catch me if ever I’d fall. I never lifted so fast! I started to carry myself up and up and up, and I got too excited, which made me wobble, but my teacher guided me and left me in the air. I was holding the pose. I mean, WHAT. Oh, and the best part was, I went down silently. Yipee!
I let the happiness come and go, as we cooled down for class and had a great savasana. I wanted to see if that was a fluke moment, so I asked my teacher to spot me after class and a friend to take the photo which you can see now.
I’m beyond happy. It took me one year and six months to get here, together with a clear mind, able body, and empowering class. I guess my point for sharing all of this is: Wherever you are with your practice or whatever “impossible” pose you are trying to accomplish, you WILL get there. You hear everyone drop this line, and it’s true, “Practice and all is coming.”
Edit: I first wrote this post in 2017, and three years later, I’ve also fulfilled my dream of being a yoga teacher. So, if you want me to assist you in a headstand or any complicated yoga pose (that’s within my teaching wheelhouse), I can help! Book one of my yoga classes, and I’ll see you on the mat. 🙂