The King of All Asana: Why You Should Be Headstanding Every Day

Whether you love it or hate it, sirsa asana brings a whole raft of physical and mental benefits. Here’s why a headstand a day could keep the doctor away!

Improved focus

Never mind all the blood rushing to your head – there’s nothing better to make you focus thatn balancing upside down!

Strengthened shoulders and arms

The constant tiny adjustments you make to maintain balance in your headstand are amazingly strengthening for your upper body.

Improved digestion

Reversing the digestive system through the effect of gravity can alleviate many uncomfortable symptoms such as trapped gas and constipation.

Stronger core

Holding your legs upright in a headstand is a major core workout – and if you’ve ever been told to engage youe mula bandha  you know this is key to a great yoga practice!

A different perspective

Literally! Turning your world upside down can give you a fresh look at things that are bothering you. A headstand on a stressful day can change everything!

Not feeling headstand? Go for a different inversion such as shoulder stand, or hang your legs up a wall to get the same great benefits! If you’re beginning to learn headstand, you can always use a wall as a safety net while you work on your balance.

How To Set Up A Daily Meditation Habit

Meditation can be the most challenging part of your yoga practice, especially if you’re already an overthinker. While sitting still for five minutes might seem simple, for many of us it can cause frustration, boredom and impatience. Here are some tips to get you on track.

Recognise that you won’t reach nirvana on day one

You will have days where you are thinking about what you’re going to eat for breakfast the whole time you’re meditating – that’s ok! It takes practice to hold your focus for so long. Don’t beat yourself up for not being zen immediately!

Download an app

Meditating isn’t the easiest thing to do independently – if you’re having trouble focusing, there are plenty of apps online that offer guided meditation tracks. Be aware that your focus could be different on different days, too – just because you’re normally able to focus independently for fifteen minutes doesn’t mean you won’t struggle to do a guided meditation for five minutes on another day.

Prioritise your daily routine

If you’ve got time to make yourself coffee, do make up and hair, and scroll through Instagram in the morning – you’ve got time to meditate. Make meditating a priority – just like brushing your teeth – and set a time that suits you. Meditating in the morning sets you up for a less stressful day ahead, whereas evening meditation will give you an amazing night’s sleep. Who know, eventually you might be meditating twice a day!

If you stop – just start again

Just because you forgot to meditate for a week doesn’t mean you should punish yourself or tell yourself off  – just start again when you can. Meditation, much like yoga, is a personal journey. No one can tell you how to run your mindfulness practice except yourself!

 

Things Not To Do At Your First Yoga Class

A headstand. 

Seriously. It’s OK not to do a headstand, even if the 24 other yogis in the room are all upside down. While it is an awesome feeling to nail a tough looking asana, you’ll benefit more from spreading your attention across your whole practice rather than flinging yourself into an inversion.

Catch up on the week’s gossip.

While hushed conversations won’t disturb anyone, having a full on gossip-fest with your mate is bound to rustle someone’s chakras. You never know what kind of day your fellow yogis have had – feel free to talk to people but make sure you’re not cackling like Aunt June after a couple of brandies.

Compete.

It’s not a sport! While there are yoga competitions, we can safely assume that the attendees of a 7pm Yin class are there to relax, not to compete. Listen to your own body, respect it, and be the only person sitting practically upright in a forward fold. They’re your hamstrings, damn it, and you’ll open them as slowly as you please!

“Float back into chaturanga.”

It always looks so graceful when your Rocket yoga teacher jumps back into chaturanga and lands with the lightness of a feather in the breeze. However, unless you’ve got some serious core strength and you can land without making the ground shake, avoid this until you build up your muscle.

Steal props.

This happens surprisingly often. You pick up a couple of blocks, but when you reach for it to support your Half Moon – egad! It’s gone! Everyone forgets to pick up a block at the beginning of class from time to time – just grab yourself one from the cupboard and get back to the mat. Do not try to sneakily pilfer your neightbours props (unless you do it by accident, which also happens a fair bit).

Listen to bitchy comments about your practice.

“Oh, can you not do wheel yet?” Sadly, there are a still a fair few competitive yogis out there – remember that this is your practice and no one else’s. It’s one thing to give constructive feedback on how to improve your practice, but if anyone is making you feel like you’re not ‘good at yoga’, they need to roll up their judgy mat and keep on walking. You’re in this for you!

 

Are Your Chakras Balanced? How To Spot A Blockage

At some point on your yoga journey, you will come across the chakra system. Around for thousands of years, this school of thought originates from the belief that the body has seven points of power through which all energy flows. These are known as the chakras, from the Sanskrit word for ‘wheel’.

Sometimes, our environment or attitude can lead to chakra imbalance – where one chakra is more or less active than the other energy centres. It is believed that chakra blockage could lead to illness, stress and other negative feelings. The solution? Yoga, of course!

Not sure what’s balanced and what’s not? Here are a few signs and symptoms to help you track your chakras!

Root Chakra

  • Balanced: Feeling rooted, grounded and secure.
  • Imbalance: Problems with the legs, feet and immune system. Feelings of anxiety around basic survival needs such as food and money.

Sacral Chakra

  • Balanced: Creative, passionate, committed and expressive.
  • Imbalanced: Lower back and hip pain, difficulty expressing feelings, anxiety about relationships and commitment.

Solar Plexus Chakra

  • Balanced: High levels of self-respect and self-confidence, assertive and secure in yourself.
  • Imbalanced: Low self-esteem, feeling like you lack personal power, fear of rejection and high blood pressure.

Heart Chakra

  • Balanced: Feeling compassionate and loving, forgiving people easily and generally feeling joyful.
  • Imbalanced: Upper back and shoulder problems, feelings of jealousy and a fear of loneliness.

Throat Chakra

  • Balanced: Great communication skills, honest but firm about what you want and expressive.
  • Imbalanced: Lack of willpower, feeling like you have no choice available, throat and facial issues.

Third Eye Chakra

  • Balanced: Clear, focused mind. Confident in seeing the difference between what is true and what is not.
  • Imbalanced: Headaches, vision problems, moodiness, an inability to learn from others and see your own fears objectively.

Crown Chakra

  • Balanced: Living in the present moment, trusting completely in your own intuition.
  • Imbalanced: Being judgemental, constant overthinking and over-analysis of day-to-day situations.

Feel like a chakra or two might be out of balance? Take this quiz and find out!

 

MoreYoga’s Yin & Yang Playlists

Looking for the perfect soundtrack to your vinyasa flow? Follow our Yang playlist for energising pop beats and uplifting mantras here.

Need something more low-key? Stretch and relax your mind, body and soul with our Yin playlist. Expect healing sound baths, gentle mantras and minimalist vibes to get you focused on your inner world.

Our Yin & Yang playlist is updated monthly with the best new yogi tunes. We will always keep the golden oldies on there for you just in case you decide to revisit a classic later!