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Why does this experienced yoga teacher stop making you head restraints?

Headstand: "The King of Asanas" (after old yoga texts) and the darling of aspiring Instagram yogis everywhere.

Also: terrible for most people's spines.

I Love inversions. Until I got babies, I traveled around the world and taught sold-out inversion workshops. I've never taught a reversal where the head actually came into contact with the ground.

When I started yoga, the headstand was pretty much the only reversal offered in the classes. I practiced them every time they were offered (usually at the end of each class) because I did not know any better. It was not long before I noticed various aching muscles on my back, without any idea of ​​how they got there. Only when the pain got really bad and I went to a spine surgeon, he combined the points: I was involved in a car accident at the age of 1

8 years and had severe spinal damage. Headstand (most likely inappropriate) compress everything and make the old injuries worse as new ones are created.

Of course, not everyone is in a serious car accident in which he leaves neck damage, but according to Dr. med. Erich Andere, Head of Neurosurgery at NYU's Langone Hospital In Brooklyn, transferring head heights without "very strong paraspinal and core musculature can cause unsafe stress for a part of the body that was not yet designed to support weight." Think about it: your feet carry all of your body weight throughout the day. Your head? Not as much. And who has strong paraspinal and nuclear musculature? Not most people – and certainly not most of the beginners of yoga.

This is not a headstand. This is a handstand. , , For some reason, people seem to use these terms interchangeably. These poses are not interchangeable. , , In my opinion, the headstand should be considered as one of the most advanced poses in yoga, as it requires ALL nuclear power, body control and awareness so as not to damage the cervical spine. , , So, my advice, as it always has been: Get strong in your handstand, get strong in your forearm stand. Then and only then: IF you know that you have a perfectly healthy and aligned spine, you will surely learn a headstand from an experienced teacher. If you have to. , , The practice of yoga is not dangerous. The forms can be, if taken out of context and not instructed by a qualified instructor. , , Did you think Headstand was a beginner version? Please let me know in the comments below

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The average person spends his life in a constant state of Diffraction ((diffracted over computers and cell phones), which relieves and weakens the back chain (also called the back of your body), says Dr. Anders. "In addition, the shape of the cervical vertebrae and joints is not responsible for absorbing significant loads "Your neck does not support the weight of your body, and to make matters worse, the neck loses its natural curvature with age, making it even more dangerous to balance on the head the potential, "things like cervical disc herniations, arthritic bone spurs, and other conditions that exert pressure on the spinal cord or the spinal nerves "Can to strengthen, he says.

In the last ten years of teaching I have seen that too many people have injured the spine in headstocks. As I said, I love inversions (and teaching them), but I do not like the effect that the headstand has on anyone who has a less healthy, healthy neck. If someone dares to start in one of my classes, I tell him to come out slowly and make a forearm stand instead. If you do not have arm strength, strength, and balance to keep a forearm stand comfortable, just think about what's going on in your neck when you're doing a headstand! Yoga should heal, not hurt. (Related: The biggest yoga mistakes you make in class)

Somehow the headstand became the "novice version" of modern yoga in the US. I think he should be considered as the most advanced considering the strength and the body awareness you need to get it done right. Unfortunately, many newer (or less experienced) yoga teachers are unable to do a handstand or to show a forearm on which they feel comfortable teaching them. Therefore, they constantly offer the only inversion they can show a headstand. However, showing an inversion does not necessarily mean that a teacher is doing it right. They too can easily damage the spine. Not to mention the plethora of influencers that "yoga teachers" include in their bios – and turn them upside down with photos of them in any configuration, including headstand – but actually have no education. (See also: What you should know before working with an Instagram coach or fitness coach.)

Do you want to create something new? ? Imagine how you do it. , , For real, for real. Over the years, teaching inversions, armband yoga, and yoga, I've seen so many excluded from the possibility of posing because they did not believe in themselves. So they never tried. , , I say it over and over again: flexibility starts and ends in your head. The same applies to force. Believe that you can and you will be able to do it. , , I'm not saying that you can do a handstand scorpion on the first try, but if you imagine yourself in the pose (or do what you want to do) and practice, practice, practice, then it will happen. , , They know that yoga poses are metaphors for life. So, take your mat, show yourself what you can do there, then take what you've learned about yourself into your life. , YOU CAN DO IT!!! , , I want to know: what did you do that you first thought impossible? Please share and inspire !!

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So what are you doing? Learn forearm and handstand and work on your arm opportunities. If you are a beginner, start with high planks. And strengthen your arms and core, strengthen your body awareness. (It will not hurt to incorporate those yoga poses that help with "tech neck.") This will give you all the benefits of arm positions and inversions without hurting your neck. If you hold a forearm in the middle of the room comfortably for several deep breaths and you know that you have no symptoms of pre-existing spinal discomfort, a head stand is probably safe, says Dr Other. But really, is it worth the risk?

The next time you practice yoga instead of going headstand when someone's called, take a break and ask yourself: is headstand the right option for your practice? this moment? (This also applies to any far-reaching pose – do not press yourself into something that does not feel good right now.) Yoga is all about adjusting to the present, so just because a particular pose was good yesterday did not. That means it is today or not tomorrow.

If you want to feel strong by supporting yourself, try any arm balance – like the crow. If you're looking for inversion benefits, try a forearm stand, a handstand, or even your legs on the wall. If you really do not feel strong enough to be handstand or forearm but really want to feel upside down, use an inversion chair or do a supported block headstand.

One of my favorite complaints about yoga is that there are a myriad of variations of every asana – including inversions. Keep in mind that yoga is a union of mind and body and to calm down mental chatter. Jumping into a headstand just to get into a pose while ignoring your body (whether for Instagram or not) is pretty much the opposite of yoga.

Always ask yourself on your mat (and out): "Is this right for me right now?" If the answer is yes and you have all the knowledge, strength and tools, you should try it! Just do not headstand in my class.

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