Getting closer to shirshasana
I’ve been doing a strengthening exercise for my shoulders in preparation for shirshasana. I’ve always been weak in the upper body region so going straight into a full headstand wouldn’t have been a wise decision.
The strengthening exercise involved locking the fingers together, forming a triangle with your forearms so the elbows are under the shoulders (just like one would do for a normal headstand), placing the head in the hands and then straightening the legs, the butt up in the air and then lifting the head off the mat. It’s kinda like a adho mukha svanasana on the forearms. The above picture is the closest I could find to the prep pose I was doing.
I remember when I first started this strengthening exercise, I could only hold it for ten breaths and I was struggling, my shoulders would burn after those ten breaths. Jump to five months later and I can hold it for 25 breaths easily and no more shoulder burn either. So, it was time to transition to the next preparatory pose, getting the feet off the ground and finding the balance.
I had previously gone up into headstand at home while mucking around so I kinda knew what it would feel like, but I’ve always had a wall for support and I always used that support. I didn’t know how I’d manage in class without a wall (C doesn’t encourage us to use walls for balance) but it turned out okay in the end. The balance without a wall was tricky as expected, but with a few finger nudges from C, I managed to stay up with the feet off the ground for ten or so breaths. What I noticed was that I didn’t feel anything in the shoulders, but the muscles I felt working were the core muscles; the abdominals, oblique abdominals and even the back muscles. I felt really wobbly for most of my time up-side-down, but for a couple of breaths I could’ve sworn I felt that “sweet” spot I’ve heard about from others.
Like with anything new, I can’t wait to try it again.
The second head-to-ground bhujapidasana was better than my first attempt. I managed to get down relatively easy and even had the legs off the ground too! C came around to give me tips on how to get up and I started laughing again. It’s not so easy to engage the abdominal muscles to come up when you’re laughing, but I did manage to get my head off the ground and the legs through the arms but then I went *splat* on my butt. I got up, but I had zero control! Tiff and Yogamum have given me some good tips for getting up, so as usual, I can’t wait to try it again.
Baddha konasana was extra rewarding after that bhujapidasana effort!