Thursday, August 07, 2014

I want to forget the fear

There are several reasons why I'm glad that I was stopped at bakasana A.

Yet let me explain from the beginning:

1. Headstand: I learned headstand in one session at the Sivananda studio round the corner more than a decade ago. I was wobbling in the beginning and insecure, but I was able to do headstand in the middle of the room.
Main mistake is that the elbows are too far away. Yet we were explained to keep them together. Men fight and they can hold this pose, women often fall out of the pose as a lack of strength when the arm position is not correct. Yet when done correctly, when the arms are almost parallel one has stability. Then it becomes easier to get into the pose and to stay there.
Then one walks the feet to the body, closer and closer, till the back is vertical. With a little kick one can bring the upper legs to the body. From there one can slowly stretch the legs upwards. That's how we learned it.
The teacher showed us how to do it. This is supportive for the visual people. Yet then we were up.

Even Iyengar, who integrated blocks and straps in his teaching, teaches the headstand in the middle of the room. If you haven't seen yet the movie 'Der atmende Gott', then do it. Here Iyengar teaches a man headstand. The man has not done yoga at all. He also didn't look sportive. He was able to learn headstand in one session even though a lot of people, Iyengar's students were watching. This makes it more difficult in my view.
If shown correctly no wall is necessary to do headstand..

A wall is like a drug. It's difficult to get rid of it. 

I learned headstand in one session, too as mentioned.
Yet I used the wall when learning pincha mayurasana. I think this pose should be doable for me. Why not?
I was able to come up without touching the wall, I was able to hold the pose without touching the wall. As soon as I was in the middle of the room I had fear and I couldn't do the pose at all. Fear, fear, fear dominated my approach. It would have been much better to learn to fall out of the pose. After 5 years of daily exercising it nothing has moved. Fear dominated when I wanted to come up in the middle of the room because I always also practiced the pose against the wall. No progress could be seen.

I practice since 10 years now and also in classes I observe it for years. Those who learn headstand in the middle of the room are able to do the pose soon. Those who start with the wall, need the wall after 5 years and perhaps forever.

This is why I want to forget the fear that I have developed over the last years when practicing pincha mayurasna. And this is why it's good that I was stopped at an earlier asana in the second series. I will forget my fear to fall and go get hurt because I don't practice pincha mayurasana anymore. Sometimes not doing something can be better than doing something.  I'm sure when the next attempt comes to learn this pose, I'll learn it faster. Because I'll learn it in the middle of the room.

How one learns an asana makes a difference!

Asthanga yoga is practiced without props. I learned the entire first series without any prop. It interrupts the flow and the breath. It gives a feeling of safety, yet props make dependant. Props belong to another yoga style. For me it makes no sense to blend yoga styles.
When I eat I don't want to have a Thai soup as a starter, an Italian main course and a Japanese dessert.
To  blend languages makes communication not easier, but more difficult.
Blending yoga styles is more than confusing.

That I focus on back bending now is in my opinion the only way to learn it. It's so challenging, that working on other poses that I'm not able to do, would be too much. Today was my last Mysore class for this week. I had an excellent practice.

We have to learn to be patient, especially if we like to practice Ashtanga yoga. This is difficult.

Picture: Purvottanasana: It's rather a counter pose after paschimottanasana than a back bending asana.


Anonymous said...

Excellent writing, dear U... I still have not "mastered" headstand... FEAR is the reason, I am sure. I keep telling myself at my age I really don't need to do this pose, I may injure something.. my doctor even advised against it (possible neck injury) but what do doctors really know about yoga? You have inspired me to try again..

Ursula Preiss said...

I'm sure you can.

Tiny steps will bring you to your goal. When the boxes in our 'new' home will be removed, I'll make YouTube videos again. Headstand is on my list. :)