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Swami SivanandaSwami Vishnu

Sivananda Bahamas Blog

Expand Your Horizons …

Inspiration and ideas on yoga philosophy, practice, and lifestyle. Enjoy, tell others, and return often.

 

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What a life changing experience!!! It is so far the most amazing thing I have done for myself and I would recommend it to anyone. Excellent does not even qualify for the amount of devotion, care, patience, and understanding I received from the team at the ashram. The food was truly amazing, accommodation to suit everyones budget, and I will be forever grateful for the high quality teachings and training received. This course formed my foundation to a much happier life.
—TripAdvisor review

What a life changing experience!!! It is so far the most amazing thing I have done for myself and I would recommend it to anyone. Excellent does not even qualify for the amount of devotion, care, patience, and understanding I received from the team at the ashram. The food was truly amazing, accommodation to suit everyone's budget, and I will be forever grateful for the high quality teachings and training received. This course formed my foundation to a much happier life.
—TripAdvisor review
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Sara Sanabria Love this picture 🙂

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In honor of our 50th anniversary, we welcomed Kamala to share stories of our founder, Swami Vishnudevananda. As his biographer, she is able to share stories such as how Swami Vishnudevananda founded the ashram, how he influenced the Beatles in their spiritual practices, and other stories about his life. The Beatles story begins at 42:00!

#thebeatles #georgeharrison #celebratingourhistorywelcomingourfuture #50yearsofashramlife #sivanandabahamas #bahamasyogasivanandabahamas.org In honor of our 50th anniversary, we had the pleasure of listening to Kamala, a devoted direct disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and his...
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Ay what time starts?

Cool post this is really great

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In the light of our 50th Anniversary a beautiful compilation of historical images of Swami Vishnudevananda and this very spot we are still gratefully holding up!

#celebratingourhistorywelcomingourfuture #50years #SAYRanniversary #sivanandabahamas #ashramlifeEnjoy these historical images of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas and Swami Vishnudevananda from the 1970s and 1980s. In 2018, as we celebrate 50 ye...
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2 days ago

 

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Conquering Headstand at Age 61: Sivananda Yoga Posture Stories

By Padmavati

Over time, our experience of yoga asanas evolves beyond the physical — the postures become our teachers and companions, showing us our relationship with ourselves and the world. Enjoy this collection of stories submitted by Sivananda Yoga practitioners from around the world, sharing their in-depth connections with each asana of the Sivananda sequence.

 

I remember asking James, my first yoga teacher at a yoga studio in Chicago, “’Why would I ever want to learn a headstand?’

In my prior yoga experiences at Bikram and Core Power studios, headstands were not part of the practices they taught … and besides, I was 60 years old.

During my year practicing at the Chicago studio, I started working on my headstand — but only with the assistance of a wall.  There was still fear wrapped around the headstand in my mind, like it was an elusive posture I’d never master. And truthfully, I didn’t care if I did or not.

In 2015, I visited the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas for my first ever yoga vacation. Practicing yoga outdoors while listening to the rush of the ocean inspired me to progress. I practiced yoga twice daily for the week. In the classes, headstands were referred to as “the king of asanas” and one of the best postures for allowing blood to flow through the body. They were done on the mat with no wall support. Even with the touted benefits, I was afraid to try it.

One of the first days I was at the ashram, there was a headstand workshop. I was doubtful but I had practiced yoga the day before with Ambika Katie, who was leading the workshop, and I thought she was a great teacher. So I gave it a try.

There were about 10 to 12 people in the workshop, and we were each at different stages of the headstand. Once there, I felt even more doubtful that I would get enough help to be able to do the posture.

Ambika Katie broke down each of the eight steps for doing the headstand, demonstrating each one. She recommended that we get really comfortable and steady at each step before moving to the next step. This was the first key for me.

I usually kicked up with straight legs, but now I practiced step-by-step, bending my knees and bringing my feet in toward my hips, holding my feet off the ground.  I practiced just these steps quite a few times. Once I was solid in this position, she explained that I could lift my knees upward first by guiding my heels back, before extending my legs. This was the second key.

I focused on my heels and my knees automatically lifted up, forming a straight line from my head up to my knees.  Again, I practiced this quite a few times before I was steady. The last step was simple because I was solid in the other steps. I lifted my feet — and that was all it took to be in a steady headstand! Now I’ve got it for life.

The most interesting part to me was that I was steady, not shaky. That first time, I held the position for 30 to 45 seconds before I came down. And it was only when I started worrying about how long I could hold the pose that I felt the need to come down.

I tried it a few more times in the workshop and each time I gained confidence. I even felt brave enough to try the headstand in yoga class after a couple days of practicing on my own. By the end of the week, I felt confident and comfortable holding the headstand for a couple of minutes.

I now do headstands as a regular part of my practice. I teach others to do headstands too — and I’ve even led a headstand workshop at the ashram. I’m now 63 years old, soon to be 64. It’s never too late to learn something new.

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Every week from January 1 – March 26, 2018, we will be sharing a new story — You can access all of the current ones here.

 

One thought on “Conquering Headstand at Age 61: Sivananda Yoga Posture Stories

  1. Narada

    My experience—I also thought I had the headstand “for life” nearing 60. However, I stopped doing the headstand for several months and was, actually, surprised that I lost it again. That fear that I had of tipping over had returned. Yoga teachers in Val Morin helped me up a few times, and at home I had to begin near a wall again. (I had even gotten away from meditation, and sitting still had become a challenge.) I have to to use it, or lose it.

    • Flicia

      I have been doing the headstand daily for 24 years. I am currently 74 and just completed the TTC at the Bahamas Ashram. I encourage all to incorporate this asana into their practice. It really is the greatest of all asanas😁🙏🏻

  2. Rukmini

    What a wonderful testimonial! I am in my 30’s and I still have a bunch of practice to do in order to master the headstand. My mom is 60 and will retire soon. My wish for her is to start practicing yoga as soon as she’s free from work for good. Will share your experience with her 🙂

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