I wanted to tell you all about a handstand workshop that I attended last weekend. I signed up to a beginner handstand class at Hot Yoga Dublin, and I loved it but for reasons I didn’t really expect!
I’d never been to this Yoga studio before even though its actually really local and on first impressions I really like it. The interior is lovely, all brand new freshly painted with good quality props and really big changing rooms. It was very welcoming and I felt at ease right away. I’ve never done any handstand work in Yoga so I was eager to get started.
Unusually, I was pretty early for class so I had about 15 minutes before it started to set up my mat and relax. I always feel very self aware on my mat (in a good way), I’m not sure why. I suppose thats how you’re supposed to feel so I go with it! After taking a minute to adjust to my surroundings, I realise (with thanks to the huge studio mirrors) how slouched over I am, so I sit up straight. It surprised me how much effort it took to do this and how many pains it gave me. After a minute or so I kind of relaxed into it but decided to lie down and take full advantage of the down time. Again, more pains in my shoulders, lower back and hips. Now when I say pains, I wasn’t in agony or anything, they were more like the type of pains you get when you take a load off. Like sitting down after being on your feet all day! I’ve been stressing myself out a bit lately so it felt good to take the proverbial load off and focus on something much simpler like movement and breathing.
After all my relaxing, I did some people watching. I love to see what everyone is wearing to yoga, what sort of gym gear they choose and whether its loose fitting or colourful or not typical gym gear at all. There were about 25 in the workshop so plenty to keep me occupied. My own yoga attire is very basic. Always black leggings and tight black top that covers my hips. The reasons are simple, black makes me feel slim and my long tight top doesn’t roll or scrunch up to reveal my stomach when I’m upside down, and wearing black generally makes me feel cool and confident (I wear black a lot) . I always like the colourful gear people wear with bright colours or mad designs, I always feel like the people wearing them must have a confidence that I don’t have. But today I thought, ya know what, I’m a happy confident person, I want to feel good and fun and summery in colourful yoga gear so i’m just gonna get some, and wear it and do some yoga and feel amazing. Today, that decision just seemed so simple.
The class started, we had a brief meditation and then we got straight into learning the correct ways to stretch and prepare for handstand work both mentally and physically. I’m no expert when it comes to Yoga but I loved the exercises and found I could follow without much difficulty. When it came to going upside down it was a bit daunting but I felt like I could do it. Now bare in mind that this is a beginners class so we were learning basic foundations of handstands. No one was walking around on their hands or anything, I don’t think anyone even balanced on their hands without help. But we were learning how to go into a handstand in a controlled manner first against a wall, front ways and the back, and then away from the wall with partners for support.
I really surprised myself today with how much at ease I felt in the class and how much I accomplished and was feeling very proud of myself, and still am, but on reflection I think maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised.
When I think about it, I’ve actually been practicing Yoga now on and off for about two years and I didn’t exactly start from basics. My first venture into Yoga was Antigravity Yoga (which so far is my favourite). For a long time, I thought this was some sort of Yoga thats not really Yoga, I thought it was something different and maybe easier than regular yoga. But the more regular classes I do I realise I’ve learnt so much through antigravity about what muscles to use for poses and, how to be comfortable upside down and how to use my core and upper body strength. All these things really helped me out today. Again, I’m no expert and I’ve a ton more to learn, but it kinda made me realise that actually I’m not a beginner anymore… woo progress!
I loved trying the handstands and it reminded me that I needed to work a bit more on a headstand I’ve been working on. When I got home got straight back on my mat while it was still on my mind to see could I improve my headstand based on some tips I had gotten in the handstand workshop. It was a good idea, cos I nailed that headstand!
Ok I didn’t nail it 😂 but… I did improve it, as in I managed to get my balance right and get my legs in the air (which I previously couldn’t) and hold the pose for about a minute! I still need to work on getting my legs straight but for the moment I’m chuffed!
Here’s some shots of my headstand, I couldn’t get any in Handstand class as no phones allowed!
I don’t know what made this class different but I came away from it feeling happy, stronger and more confident in my Yoga abilities. And more than that, I felt a bit more confidence in myself and my abilities in general. This class showed me that sometimes I do know more than I think I know, or I am more able than I give myself credit for.
We are the only ones holding ourselves back, some days you just have to stop doubting yourself and listen to those quiet thoughts which are telling you what you know you can achieve, and run with them.
As I go along, Yoga is teaching me so much about myself, long may it continue!
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Hot Yoga Dublin- https://hotyogadublin.ie/
Naomi-Handstands Teacher- http://www.elementsyoga.ie
Antigravity Yoga- http://www.yoga4all.ie/