In a yoga class earlier in the week, the instructor asked if anyone in the room has a solid Tripod Headstand. A Tripod Headstand may be one of the ONLY inversions I can do, and it’s not ALWAYS solid so I was hesitant to raise my hand – BUT I did because no one else did. (how nice of me)
Andy, the instructor wanted to demo a Tripod Headstand but wasn’t able to because he didn’t have room for his own yoga mat – the class was packed – so he needed someone in the room to do the demo for him. Anyway, I got lucky and my “demo” was a success, I didn’t fall flat on my face or my back like I sometimes do. (whew)
The only reason I can do a Tripod Headstand is because a yoga instructor in Miami took me under her wing after a class on the beach a few years back- she stayed after class to guide me through the process of getting upside down. When I was able to stay put without falling, she grabbed my camera and took photos of me in my first ever upside-down inversion. I still think of her every time I’m hanging out in a headstand. (I should look for those photos – they were taken with an actual camera, not an iPhone bahaha)
The thing that holds me back in inversions is fear & the unknown. Kicking my feet up or balancing on my hands, all while uncertain whether I will fall or not (the feeling isn’t much different from that of snowboarding for the first time) makes me uneasy. I’ve tried several inversions, but haven’t been successful at many of them so I don’t even know what it feels like to be in those inversions – it’s like I’m upside-down, kicking my feet around aimlessly trying to figure out where my feet are supposed to go, but I can’t see them and it feels like I’m going to fall ahhhhhh!
Anyway, I’m convinced that if I can do a Tripod Headstand, most anyone can if they put their mind to it.
The first step is simply to get your head and hands grounded. Once you feel grounded, you can lift your legs and rest your knees on your elbows – this is a good place to hang out for a while and practice a few times before you attempt full expression.
At first, I was only able to practice full expression with the help of my instructor. She readily guided my legs up and held on to the tips of my toes while I found my balance…. and then she let go!
If you are working on successfully getting upside-down in to a tripod headstand, I would highly recommend that you find a buddy, or ask an instructor to guide, and hold you while you find balance – I think it is important to know where you are going, be familiar with the process of getting there, and find balance there before you put yourself through the daunting task of finding comfort in the process – and a partner can help you do just that.
To pay it forward, I helped a guy get upside-down in a yoga class this past week. It didn’t take much, I held on to his legs as he lifted them, then held his feet in place for a few seconds until he found his balance. Now that he knows exactly what a Tripod Headstand feels like, he’ll be able to get up on his own. Now that he knows what it is like to be in full expression, he can work on the process of getting there.