I have taken some super crowded classes recently and in them been asked to pop up in to headstand (if that’s in your practice). Headstands in their many iterations are some of my favorite postures – I love tripod and unsupported headstand as well.
I learned how to get in to them properly by taking an inversion workshop at Yoga Vida. It was a small group of people in very large room all trying and failing and finally succeeding together. We all knew that the others were there for the same reason. The whole point was to try something new so falling out was assumed. In class, when you’re doing some lovely separate leg stretching pose and the teacher suddenly suggests that you float up in to tripod – if it’s in your practice – is a completely different thing.
Coming out of that clinic, I have practiced a lot at home. I have gone from not being able to do them at all to bending my knees and straightening one leg at a time to coming up in to the posture with straight legs, zipped together. But doing it in a crowded class when you have maybe an inch on all sides of your mat is a different thing.
This is when the real yoga begins. When you have to draw in to yourself. Steady your mind and believe that you can do what you have done a million times. That it doesn’t really matter that you are surrounded by 50 other people. That a famous yoga instructor (those really exist) is walking past you as you “float” up in to the posture. Getting up there is hard, coming down softly is hard.
When you’re in the pose, with a million people around, trying to concentrate on keeping the alignment, not flopping backwards – this is meditation. Allow one other thing to come in to your brain and you will fall. And yes, it’s OK to be proud when your toes slowly touch back down on the ground. You’re a yogi but you’re also human.