Yogi Diaries: Inversions for Beginners & My Favorite Resource

As I’ve mentioned before, balance is not something that comes naturally to me. That being said, the extra effort it takes for me to master balances and inversions in no way deters me from working hard and achieving those goals! In my opinion, the hard work and perseverance it takes to get into these poses makes them all the more rewarding.

For me, achieving and maintaining inversions requires a lot of extra practice outside of the studio. If I’m super short on time and just want to maintain my progress, I’ll usually just do a warm up before going into the inversions I have mastered and holding them for 10 yogi breaths each.

If I do have time, however, I love to use resources like Yoga Journal to expand my practice through their expansive archive of free yoga videos. When I was first mastering inversions, I got into the habit of watching the same video almost daily to practice safely and correctly going into my inversions, and it worked wonders for my practice!

This video starts by warming you up for your inversions by taking you through some balancing poses and practice kicks, which I find to be extremely helpful (especially if I haven’t practiced yet that day). If you are already warmed up, however, you can skip to 9 minutes and 55 seconds which is where the yogi brings you to the wall to get right into the inversions. She focuses on traditional head stand, tripod headstand, and handstand.

The best part is that this awesome video caters specifically to beginners, so no matter how little experience you have with inversions you will reap the benefits after watching it even once! Click here to watch the video and start mastering inversions now (side note: don’t worry if you don’t have a yoga strap or a block).

 

Yogi Diaries: Updates and Intentions

As I delve deeper into the world of yoga and as I am suddenly at a point in my life where free time is scarce, I am becoming more and more aware of the importance of going about my life in a more purposeful and mindful way. When there are fewer hours in the day than you might like, it’s important to ration your time and to assign a purpose or reason to each thing you do, which is why I want to start to focus more on setting clear intentions for my life, weeks, days, and even little tasks.

While I have always had goals in life, I’m finding myself now at a time where I am completely in the driver’s seat of my life for the first time. It’s a strange mixture of terrifying and exhilarating, most importantly, however, it’s inspiring. At any transition point in life, it’s important to find the direction that’s right for you and run with it. While I am constantly exhilarated and excited by the possibilities of the future, I’m beginning to learn that the “run with it” part of finding your path can be easier said than done.

For the past week or so, I spent time focusing on the beginning two aspects of the 8 limbed yogic path: the first Yama, Ahisma which represents non-violence or non-harm, and the first Niyama, Saucha which stands for cleanliness and purity in all aspects of life (for more background information, see my earlier post Yogi Diaries: A Spiritual Journey Beginning with Yamas & Niyamas). The outcome of my focus on these aspects of life was somewhat minimal, but meaningful nonetheless.

Since I already have an inherently non-violent vegan diet, I sort of feel like I used it as a cop-out for focusing on Ahisma. I would have liked to spend more time looking inward and focusing on how I treat all of the people I interact with on a daily basis. I would have liked to make more progress towards eliminating any accidental rudeness or unintentionally inconsiderate behavior, but at the very least it’s good that I am thinking about it at all so that I can continue to make an effort going forward. For Saucha, I made an effort to keep my bedroom space more tidy and to clean up after myself more thoroughly, especially in the kitchen. While my room is still far from perfect, I do think that I made some progress or at least taught my self some helpful tidiness tips and tricks that I’ll be able to employ in the future.

For the week or so to come, I’ll be focusing on the next Yama and Niyama. Respectively, Satya which stands for honesty and truthful communication, and Santosha which represents personal contentment and being enough on your own. As someone who has recently been in recovery from an eating disorder, I think that this one could be particularly hard for me. Intrinsic contentment and confidence is something that I deeply struggle with. I am nervous and scared to look that still-open wound directly in the face because I don’t know how it will feel. I’m terrified to be alone with my thoughts and feelings on this matter, but the fact that I have such fear shows me that it needs to be done and that I should give this aspect of my life special attention. I think that Satya and Santosha will compliment each other as my focuses for this time period to come because I will have to focus on communicating honestly with myself, and being truthful about my progress when it comes to self acceptance. Wish me luck and send me good vibes through this microjourney that I’m embarking on!

Now on a very different note…

Since this is my diary as an emerging yogi, I’m going to bring the conversation back to the mat for a hot second. Since day one, my balance has been sub-par to say the least. Nailing crow was much more of struggle for me than I would ever care to admit. Since I mastered it, I have been trying to work on my tripod head stand and my chin stand. I want to emphasize how unbelievably difficult balancing is for me, because these poses seem to be much harder for me than the average person. It is beyond frustrating to advance so slowly in some aspects (balances) as compared to other aspects of my practice.

That being said, last night I finally found myself in a comfortable straight leg supported head stand (or sirshasana if you prefer Sanskrit)!!! This was a seriously big deal for me, like HUGE! I was so excited and proud of myself that I lost my focus and toppled straight to the ground. In the process, one of my knees ended up hitting my right forearm instead of the ground and as a result my arm has been hurting all day since. It actually caused so much pain in my forearm that I decided to skip yoga class completely today in order to avoid putting weight on the arm (since that’s when it hurts the most). This kind of stuff is scary for me as someone who has little to no experience with injury. Luckily, my arm is feeling better already so I think I’ll just be able to chalk it up to a close call and a sign that I shouldn’t get ahead of myself in the future.

At the end of the day, I’m so so so very excited about getting into my head stand and I hope it will open more doors for me! I am attending a balancing workshop this coming Saturday so hopefully I’ll have a few solid days of headstand practice before then. I hope that my struggles and constant sequences of trial and error will inspire y’all to try something new or tackle your goals because even if you (literally, in my case) fall on your face the first time it will always be worth it in the end.

I know that my writing has been lacking lately, but I’m getting back into my groove this week I promise so stay tuned for more recipes and/or bay area eats and whatnot. For now, keep it HONEST and keep it CONTENT in solidarity with me!