So, a couple of weeks ago I busted my left shoulder and could hardly lift my arm so my handstand practice halted a bit. It’s still hurting, but today I was able to go up and do a bit and produced this beauty!
Today, I think a combination of the Spring-like weather, the shoulder injury healing and coming to the end of a big project that’s been completely consuming me for a couple of months (more to come on this very soon!) meant I really felt like getting upside-down.
I often find with handstands or anything really, that I produce my best after a little break. Two weeks is long enough to let muscles completely recover but not too long to loose what you’ve worked for.
The two week rule is exactly the same with my running training. And if I have not been training for a while, it always takes me two weeks to get back up to speed. Being aware of these things is just part of my practice these days, but there was a time when I would have found it hard to stop.
My mum, who was a runner for 40 years (she started when she was about 30 and died last year aged 69) used to say, “the hardest part of running is knowing when to stop”.
She was so right and her wise words pop into my head every time I get a little injury. It’s just not worth it to ‘push on’ and risk a long stint out of the game.
Yoga Nidra for Recovery
Also yesterday, I practiced Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep)…not once, not twice but three times!! That will have definitely contributed to the Springy feeling. I was on a one-day training course with the lovely Michelle Nicklin of Sandstone Yoga. (I did my teacher training at Sandstone in 2015, fab traditional studio).
I am going to post very soon about Yoga Nidra and do a session in my free yoga group because the benefits of Yoga Nidra for rejuvenation and restoration are immense. One 30-minute session is the equivalent to three hours deep sleep. Really!
Out of My Head
So, stopping and knowing when to stop is actually a yogic practice too. It’s the mind (ego) that pushes us to keep going when we know we shouldn’t. If we listened to our bodies or our gut, intuition, inner voice…Whatever you like to call it, we would be stopping a lot more. And our heads would be in a much better place.
So our bodies are constantly talking to us and there are some really obvious messages like a pulled muscle, which I have seen many ignore and then become severely injured. And the more subtle messages, which we often barely notice and/or completely ignore. Like a faint feeling of resistance, some mild anxiety or a brief churning of the gut.
These are feelings popping up physically and we push them down continually. We prefer to stay up in our heads because that’s the way the mind likes it.
Yoga for Listening
Practicing yoga brings us back down into the body. The first stage is to STOP and breathe. The second is to move on our mats with the breath.
The breath quiets the mind while the body is challenged and energised. No other exercise does this – it’s a moving breathing, meditation. The body takes over from the mind and you start to REALLY feel again.
The crazy thing is, all of the science today is telling us what yogis have been doing all this time – breathing with purpose reduces anxiety and stress because it calms us down. As does practicing yoga nidra.
It will also help us stay present and ‘checked in’; physically, mentally, emotionally. Listening what our bodies are trying to tell us and being present with that means we can grow and evolve as humans rather that staying stuck in the same patterns and loops.
Getting out of our heads and dropping into the body was a big part of my journey and it’s what I teach on my 12-week transformational programme, Peaceful Soul, Bangin’ Body. If you’re interested in learning more, book a call with me. Happy handstands!