Vanity Helped my Headstand

Shame and vanity hardly ever serve yoga. Except when they do.

The other day I was demonstrating tripod for a friend of mine. We were talking about the transition from crow into tripod headstand (which is not something I can currently do) and I couldn’t express what I meant. So I got down on the floor and got into tripod.

Another friend of mine asked if I could go up from that position into headstand – also not something I’d ever done before. I figured I’d try. But as soon as I was upside down my shirt slid down. Oops! But here comes the trick.

I was worried that my belly would stick out, so I instinctually sucked in, pulling my stomach up and in towards my spine. And what does that do – besides giving the appearance of a flatter belly? Strengthen and engage the muscles for core stabilization.

With a stable core, my legs just floated up. I wasn’t even wobbly. My attempt at hiding flab engaged my core, and my legs just lifted up on their own – stacking on top of my body in perfect balance.

All three of these gorgeous images come from the Lululemon blog post titled 5 Steps to Headstand. They do a great job of breaking down the various stages of headstand.

Yogic Powers

In yoga school, we learned about the yogic powers. It was maybe the one afternoon lecture where no one fell asleep, and we all sat attention rapt in a circle around our teacher as he told us stories of yogis who could slow their heart rate to almost nothing, who could live without food or water and simply be nourished by prana, who could levitate.

True? Maybe. I’ve been a little cynical.

But I’m even more cynical of the trick shown in this video. I somehow doubt this is how it’s been done for hundreds of years. But even if it is, I don’t know that I mind. If that’s what it takes to ensure the survival of an ancient tradition with real physiological and spiritual benefits, I’ll accept a little slight of hand.

[via boingboing]