2010-06-03

Headstands

The King of all asanas dropped by last night for a workshop. Formally named as Salambha (supported) Shirshasana (headstand), this posture has a series of benefits that range from developing balance to reversing the blood flow to transcending the constraints of our physical bodies.

Below is a list of do’s and do not's. Some of these are pretty obvious. However, getting on your head can make you forget even the simplest, most logical thing...

Do

Warm your body by practising 1-2 rounds of the sun salutations
Breathe through your nose for more steady and even breaths
Rest between the sets in bakrasana (child’s pose)
Place the pressure on the center of your head (top)
Practice lengthening postures such as forward bends
or twists to relieve the muscles and to create fluidity
Visualize your body in the posture while sitting quietly
Practice conditioning exercises regularly
Practice one step of the headstand regularly


Do Not

Begin your practice with the headstand
Place a lot of pressure on your head
Lift your head suddenly from the posture
Forget to breathe
Relax your legs or hip muscles
Lift your arms or elbows
Place your hands under your head
Squeeze or tense your shoulders
Jump or throw yourself into the pose
Use your head to lift your body


Responses and reactions:

“I just wanted to tell you that the workshop last night was outstanding! I am still amazed at how you feel after spending so much time on your head.” Andrea

“I really enjoyed the class. I really know now it’s a matter of time and, of course, practice!” Terry

"The pictures are absolutely terrific to have, what a bonus." Catherine
_____________________________________________________________________________________


As a part of my teaching, I started to take regular photos of the students in the workshops. My teacher Yogacharya in Mysore once recommended that he take photos of me. This sparked the idea to do this as both a teaching and learning tool.

As a yoga student, I found it helpful since usually our perception of "what we think is happening" is quite different from "what is actually taking place". For the last several years, I have taken photos during back bending, headstands and handstand workshops. As a teacher it's a bit of a juggling act to teach, snap a photo, give an instruction and assist someone. However, as a teacher you learn to grow 4 arms (sort of like Saraswati, the consort of Brahma (the creator) and the goddess of intelligence, music and art.)







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The Journey So Far

Life is an adventure and yoga is the greatest one of all. Here I share my love of Yoga, travel, practice and becoming a part-time cook. My life adventures have taken me from growing up in Toronto to living and working in South Korea to studying in India, marriage and finally closing my Yoga school of 15 years.

What I can say so far is that I truly believe that it is necessary in life to let go of one dream in order for another to be born. This might be painful to do so but it is the only way to move forward. We often believe that if our original plan does not succeed it is the recipe for failure. But what if it is the door to something new and great? The horizon is wide and life is not a straight line. This is the way I see it and my journey so far. Having also recently given birth to my first child and at 43, it is another new beginning.


ME

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Heather Morton
is a perennial teacher and devoted student of yoga. Having made 18 extended trips to India she studies with her teachers annually. In 1997 she founded and directed The Yoga Way (TYW), Toronto's only school for 6-week yoga programs and not drop-in classes. For 15 years, TYW was a part of the growing Toronto yoga community and supported many charities by offering karma classes. As a teacher she holds many academic degrees including a BFA (Fine Arts in Theatre) and a Masters of Education. With a published thesis on Yoga for Children in School, her post-graduate work was a 2-year ethnographic project in the Indian school system. Heather has produced 2 dvds, meditation cds, a backbending manual and podcasts. Freedom of the Body DVD is the first of its kind as an instructional practice to the backbends of yoga. Heather has been featured in the Toronto Life magazine, The Globe & Mail, Yoga4Everybody and other on-line sources. She contributes to MindBodyGreen, Hello Yoga in Japan and Elephant Journal. She writes to inspire and share her experiences with others on yoga as a life's practice.
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