Today, I was having one of those days where I just felt grumpy, confused, dazed and just not very energetic. So in my self-practice, I tried my best to inject some life into my breath, and I followed my body's cue and stretched and strengthen wherever the flow took me. My favourite way to practice.
Gradually, I felt an urge to get upside down and so worked my way up to a headstand. I stayed for 20 breaths. Probably one of the longest headstands I've done. (They say if you spend half an hour in headstand everyday, you will be the healthiest person alive!). During those 20 breaths, which was probably a minute long, I observed all the thoughts that came and went inside my head.
"Oh no, I think I may fall backwards." - This is the worst fear of a person new to headstands. But since I had a safeguard of a wall behind me.... my next thought was:
"Don't be silly, there's a wall behind you. Nothing serious will happen." - Which lead to my next thought:
"I really should try headstand in the middle of the room soon. I haven't fallen backwards during a headstand for a long time anyway. I should stop being such a chicken" - And in went on and on like that.... I am now realising that this is my usual thought pattern everytime I am in headstand. Only this time, I stayed long enough to realise that.
I wobbled to the left, to the right. I adjusted and readjusted my centre of balance. And after the final 20th breath, came down and rested in Balasana, Childs posture. Then I rolled up to sit on my heels, rolled my shoulders to loosen them up and took a couple of deep yogic breaths. Finally, I savasana-ed for about 30 breaths, rolled up to easy pose, and Om-ed 3 times. Lovely.
By this time I was filled with such clarity and enthusiasm about my 20-breath headstand. And I resolved to a 18 day headstand challenge! From now till my Anusara Immersion training in Chiang Mai, I had 18 days. I will make sure headstand is part of my practice EVERYDAY and every 2 days, I will add 5 breaths to time I am up. At the end of it, I will have stayed up for 60 breaths - or about 3 minutes.
Small, realistic goals. That's what and how one should approach a yoga practice. But also in life! Most times, we set ourselves such big unrealistic goals, that when we fail to achieve them, we fall into a pit of self-loathing and despair. With dieting, exercise, being organised... everything! This is my lesson to learn. Watch this space for updates!