Oops upside your head


This year one of my intentions was to learn how to do a headstand.  From a yoga point of view the benefits are abundant; improved circulation to the brain and hormonal system, easing puffiness in the legs, strengthening the core, releasing endorphins, improving digestion and boosting the immune system.

From a vanity angle, headstands are said help to soften the effects of gravity on the face and body and apparently can help to lessen the sprouting of grey hairs on the scalp. Since I won't be one for cosmetic surgery anything that offers a more natural way for vitality is worth a look.

I am far more tied to my computer than I would like to be.  Carrying a heavy laptop (albeit in a backpack worn on both shoulders- I am after all an osteopath!) often leaves me with a burdened feeling in my back, which is accentuated by having a physical job.

More importantly though, conquering headstands are for me a symbol of playfulness and for stepping through fear.

I was one of those quiet children, tucked away in a corner with a book, caught up in a rich inner world but not really noticed in the real world.  As an adult I tend to always be exploring new things, and often nod towards my younger self when I take on a new challenge.  I am not a good swimmer, yet I love the ocean and learnt to scuba dive.  I now love to teach, but I used to have a painful and deep fear of public speaking, which would block my throat and sink my stomach deep into the ground. A great moment for me in my life was being encouraged to jump off a rock into a stretch of the Chattanooga river in Tennessee, U.S.A. At first I experienced the total block in my body brought on by fear.  It took every ounce of me to take a step forward from the safety of the rock.  Once I took that step time seemed to slow down.  My body felt supported by space and as my feet reached the water below I was so exhilarated.  There have been so many times I have missed out, due to fear.  I am so glad to have tools to be able to step through that now and encounter new things.

So headstands became a way of channeling through fear, trusting myself and allowing myself to have a regular dose of adrenaline without having to find large rockfaces to jump off or oceans to explore.  It’s been a frustrating step by step process, experiencing discomfort from my head pressing down on my neck, and the frustration of not feeling strong enough in my arms. Someone recommend the ‘feet up’ and although I resisted the urge to buy yet another health gizmo, I decided to stop coveting and give it a try.  It’s a sturdy stool-like structure, which looks like a commode or padded loo-seat.  Once I got over the giggles, I realized how easy it is to let my weight rest on my shoulders, leaving my neck free and lengthened.  Within a couple of days of trying it I trusted my legs to lift up into the air and once I confiscated my hubby’s phone to stop him taking pics of me, I really enjoyed the sensation of being upside down.  It’s such a joyous thing to do and I can see how quickly I can shift any feelings of lethargy or overwhelm.  It’s the perfect antidote for when life gets a little bit too serious.

Feet up – from www.yogamatters.com