By Kanika Parakh
Yoga has challenged me in more ways than one. My greatest challenge so far has been with Sirsasana (headstand) – rightly known as the king of all aasans.
Initially, I couldn’t get myself to even think of attempting the aasana for some unknown fear that developed within me about this inversion. Whether it was the fear of falling on my back and breaking my neck, or just believing that I was incapable of achieving it, the fear of the headstand had made a permanent home in my mind.
As my practice progressed I realised that I was scared of the aasana without even giving it a fair chance to scare me. This irrational fear bothered me constantly, so I took up the challenge to overcome it "head-on"
I practised the headstand every day. Initially, I would just get into into an L-shape and hold, to get used to the feeling the weight on my head. With time I moved to tucking my knees into my chest, to understand how to engage the core for stability and the shoulders for strength. I then progressed to using a wall for support. I remember, for the longest time I was barely able to move my body away from the wall, from this crippling feeling of self-doubt. I was literally stuck to the wall, until one day, where I felt this calm confidence engulf me during my practice.
I simply unrolled my mat in the middle of the room and went about my practice. There were no thoughts, no doubts and no expectations, simply a calm feeling of presence in the mind and awareness in the body.
My journey to Sirsasana was far from complete. there was a lot trying and failing, and trying again. But I now had patience in my approach. I trusted the process and enjoyed the journey, never thinking of the end result.
Three months later, believe it or not, I could do a headstand on a beach with no walls around! The feeling was truly exhilarating!
Small victories like this make us realise what we are capable of and how much our thoughts limit our actions. The practice of Yoga has taught me a lot, but my greatest lesson so far has been that consistency and dedication can move even the largest mountains.
About the Author: This article is written by Kanika Parakh a fitness and Yoga enthusiast based out of Mumbai. Kanika was introduced to Yoga fairly recently, but has made up for lost time by regularly practising a variety of different styles. Find Kanika's favourite Yoga Mats here. You can follow her journey on Instagram (instagram.com/kanikaparakh).