DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME-------------------------------------- So... I wasn't going to share this here... but I got such a reaction on my personal page that I thought perhaps it was important to do so. More on that in a moment.
First of all, as the title suggests, unless you've had a good amount of training (and apparently, even that might not help!), headstand is nothing to take lightly. Inversions are Serious Business. They take time, skill, intention and strength to do them safely.
I wasn't using most of those at this particular moment.
I was practicing on my own in the studio a few days ago and video taping my practice so I could be my own teacher; hoping to see what alignment points I might be missing and what improvements I could make (Good Thing). It was fairly warm that day so I positioned myself near the check in desk (Bad Thing) under the fan. Toward the end of my practice I said to myself, "I wonder what would happen if I tried to kick up to headstand in the middle of the room." (Bad Thing) Mind you haven't exactly been consistent in my headstand practice lately (Bad Thing).
What happened was I surprised the *#$& out of myself.
When the legs went higher than I thought they would (Good Thing), I panicked (Bad Thing) and attempted to "protect" my neck with some epic flailing. Given those circumstances, I landed fairly lightly and have suffered no ill effects (Good Thing).
So why the heck am I posting something so embarrassing here??
A couple of reasons: First, to show you that while pushing your limits and challenging yourself is a Good Thing, doing it carelessly is not. And even your yoga teacher can fall into that trap.
Second, to show you how trauma can show up even years later. As some of you know, I had spinal surgery on my neck in 2009. 7 years later my instinct is still one of protection. That can be a Good Thing and a Bad Thing. I'm (obviously) still working with that.
And finally, because when I shared this on my personal page I can't tell you how many people thanked me for posting something that WASN'T staged and polished and perfect! That it made them feel better because they are still learning and knowing that even a "pro" could still struggle with things like this gave them hope for themselves.
Yoga practice is just like life. It can be pretty darn messy at times. We try our best to be mindful, but sometimes we panic and flail. Each time we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again is a triumph! Whatever challenge you're facing in your life or your practice right now, if this gives you a little more hope for yourself, then the fall was even more worth it.
And just so you know, after I fell I put myself back together, dusted myself off and tried again. At the wall. ;-)
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