Better Hair, No More Colds and Stress Free.
Fight or flight. It is instinctual. The moment all rational thoughts and actions disappear. And we react. This is engrained into our DNA. Dating back to the days living in a cave and everyday was based upon survival.
Today for the majority of us, these responses do not have the ramifications that our ancestors were faced with. There are no Saber Tooth Tigers hiding in the bush. Or if we don't find our next meal, we may not see the light of tomorrow.
However we find ourselves in the midst of fighting this urge. To react. Not from a mental state but something deeper.
A few months ago I started researching the central nervous system and connections to the subconscious. My goal, find what the feeling of fear is and how do we break it? I knew it had a lot to do with our comfort zones and doing things that the mind perceived as difficult.
With yoga being one of my favorite tools and with a history almost as long as the connection to human kind. I figured there had to be an answer here.
As I started digging deeper, I recalled a friend who took a class with Sri DHarma Mittra. Where he put you in headstand for multiple minutes to break the subconscious. And it dawned on me. This is the easiest way to put the body in a place of discomfort. Upside down is not a place that our body spends much time.
I headed to the mat. Made my way down to my hands and knees. Exhaled all my air through my nose. And then back in through my mouth. I focused on the breathing aspect. As I placed my forearms on the mat. Palms connecting in a pray like position, if I were clapping my hands. I tucked my chin and placed the top of my head down on the mat. My knees and shins began to rise up and my body began to resemble and upside down v. I walked my toes towards my nose. My hips began to move forward making my spine straight up and down, bringing my hips over my shoulders.
Now for the tough part. The core started to work, I floated one leg up to the sky and then bent the knee letting the leg drift over my head. I felt like a teeter totter. As my other toes began to float off the mat. Knee bent and close to my chest the other leg began to straiten and upwards to the sky.
The breath stayed steady as the other leg pushed up through the heels and straightened. I was in headstand. Feeling a bit off balanced I remembered the core. I flexed as if making that instagram photo look even better, pulled the belly button into the spine.
10. 9. 8. The countdown. On each exhale a new number revealed itself. As I made it to one. I started to go back up. Around five. The trembling started. My shoulders ached. Mind was telling me "ok, ok, enough." This is when I knew I had to stay longer. Breath through this spot.
I lost count. But my breath stayed strong. And then the aches went away. The count returned. I stayed another round of 10 count. Before making my way back down to the mat.
I sat on my knees. Closed my eyes and. Felt clarity. And invigorated.
This pose helped me began the journey of living in the uncomfortable. Of challenging the minds restraints. And breaking the subconscious. For the simple reason of wanting to eliminating reactive behavior.
Today this pose is my go to. Somedays for a quick round of 10 breaths. Others have me in the multiple minute mark. A quick google search of headstand will provide all types of benefits. Better hair, relieving stress and strengthen the immune system.
There is a level of difficulty in this pose. And injury can occur. Before you go rushing into a five minute headstand. Explore some other poses and build into it. If headstand is a long ways off. Try a wide leg forward fold or legs up the wall. These poses help us reap the benefits without the risk of injury.
And for those that are looking to really challenge the the comfort level. My favorite place to practice headstand, floating on the water. On a stand up paddleboard.