Last week evening, a student asked if I knew – about some Instagram sensation, a famous yogini (only on Instagram – not from teaching BTW) and what happened to her – according to this student’s story, this 40 year old Instragram yoga rock star? had a stroke. Prompted by such an inquiry, I decided to look her up. So this Instrgram yoga star suffered a stroke from posing a type of handstand called “hollowback.” The position requires extending the neck, dropping the hips back, and arching the spine all while in a handstand. Isn’t this gymnastics? What’s “yoga” again?
What are the benefits in such a pose that you can’t get from any other much safer pose or poses sequenced intelligently or customized to where you are at with props? Props meets you where you are at and what is wrong with that – to honor where we are at? It’s a beautiful practice. To really honor where we are. To wholeheartedly practice acceptance and self-love.
Other than striking that pose that looks super-human cool – inspiring for some; foolish for others – for some, an endorphin rush we get from nailing a challenging pose – if done over much preparations and warm-ups – not just for the photo shoot – then I see the progressions in clearing the challenges and for some, it’s a really feel good moment – BUT for those looking to yoga for healing or simple tweaking, so many other wiser deeds we can challenge ourselves with – can’t we be more selective – personalized – customized – if one’s intention is about self-care, self-preservation aka, longevity, self-growth – a transformation into a better version of Self. Having empathized with loved ones with knee surgeries, hip replacement surgeries, shoulder/back problems, it’s crazy that we don’t take better care of ourselves. There’s nothing to gain from extreme poses no matter how photogenic – unless of course you are training for Cirque Du Soleil.
There are so many benefits to yoga and if challenge is what you are after, that is afforded with wide variety of poses that pose no harm – or in flowing movements that links the breath with each extension or flexion or release. I would humbly choose that path taught in yoga therapy as all over-riding “do no harm” while doing great good:) One of the ways I re-discovered recently is YOGA WALL 🙂 Plus Somatic Movements after a moderate cardio-workouts that’s more about weight bearing, loading (this can be done kindly in Yin kind of yoga too) of the joints for that renewal … Here for reference. Picked up this book in Japan I wish I could translate as it’s fascinating. Title would translate to something like “Muscle Training Over-Rated”, the focus being the importance of skeletal alignment, strength and growth. It’s one extreme to the other … I guess that’s why I love Yoga practice so much as it’s about “BALANCE” even though now we have to deal with some misunderstandings out there that Stroke can be caused by yoga as this student told me – now I’m a little scared – PLEASE, find a good teacher.
Some Ideas for All Inviting Accessible Yoga – Yoga Wall !!! It’s safe – you’ve got the inversion with no neck passage/artery impingement. Find a Yoga Wall certified teacher who knows about safety and also about challenging your concept of what is truly challenging yet staying in the safe zone, taking humble baby steps towards progress to reconnect with the best version of Self – to rediscover that core essence that’s undeniably uniquely yours through discipline of regular practice.
Jason Cull, C-IAYT Yoga Wall Teacher Training @ Yoga Health Center
Just hanging out for wholesome health:) Seeing the world up-side-down so if you are Yang-dominant, FLIP it – See the Yin benefits:) Flip things and see things from another perspective – it also does a body good, besides the positive affect on your mind.
And … No cause for alarm – no stroke from inversions ! No joke:)
Chronological age is not indicative; it’s the age of your blood vessels is what they say in Japan … One can be 70 years old with blood vessels of a 35 year old; one can be 35 years old and with blood vessels of a 70 year old …