Author: Amber French
This pose is my personal fitness goal for the first quarter of 2015. I have been trying to do a headstand for two years. I mastered “tripod” headstand your knees rest on the back of your arms and you work to get your feet of the ground) pretty quickly and then nothing for two years. January of this year, I posted a picture of a girl doing a headstand on my office window, for all the world to see, and proclaimed it my Personal Fitness Goal for 2015. By the end of January I had done my first assisted head stand and by mid-feb I could transition from tripod into a full fledge headstand!!!!!
Now remember I still have a “big” girl in my head that comes out to play every once and awhile. So convincing my brain that I can balance my entire body weight on the backs of my triceps and eventually all that weight is being held up by the palms of my hands….and my neck, well that was a very hard sell.
This is a pose that reminds me how far I have come and how much further I can go. I was literally paralyzed anytime I tried to raise my legs up off my elbows. I would think “come on legs, straighten, push my feet towards the ceiling” and nothing would happen. Literally nothing.
I convinced myself my lower half was too heavy to lift straight up toward the ceiling. That was my story and I was sticking to it.
If you have a great yoga instructor, you will hear time and time again that fear is the only thing holding you back. What they are trying to tell you, is your body is capable of any pose, it is just our fear and self-doubt that makes achieving the proper alignment seem impossible.
Physiologically, I knew this to be a fact. What happens to our muscles when we think we are going to be injured, is our brain sends a signal to that muscle and the muscle surrounding it to protect, protect, protect. Muscles translate that command into one thing…CONTRACT.
Try this, stand straight upright, staring straight ahead. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale try to touch your toes. If you get “stuck” about half way, breathe. Think about your hamstrings (visualize the backs of your legs), breath into your hamstrings and relax. Wait for your muscles to stop contracting and feel them relax, as you relax they relax. You will immediately get closer and closer to those toes.
It is totally crazy that once you achieve a new skill liking getting those heels towards the ceiling, you can do 95% of the time. That is proof positive that it was only fear holding you back. Once you have done it once and lived to tell the story, you can replicate it time and time again. If it were a physical inability to do a headstand you would have to work on it until you built up enough strength to support your own body weight. Completing a new exercise once doesn’t build your strength enough to be able to do it every time/multiple times. BUT if you could never do a headstand, or crow, or wheel and can miraculously do it every time after the first, know that was fear holding you back.
I also love headstand because it literally changes your perception. Have a problem? Stand on your head and think, how can I “see this problem” differently??? Sound crazy? It is!! Cause it works!!!
Maybe don’t do it in the ladies washroom (especially if you are a man) during break time, then again maybe that is the best time to do it!!
Stand on your head, crush your fears and change your perception.
About the Author: Amber has been in the fitness and recreation game for over 15 years (not including school!!). She made fitness her life because as the age old saying goes, study and teach what it is you need to learn. In other words, she’s battles with some weight issues for many years and wants to share what she has learned along the way.
You can follow her @TheVeganHouse