Why Headstands Don’t Matter

Why Headstands Don’t Matter

As someone who struggles with getting upside down, I’ve heard a lot of conflicting advice from yoga teachers and students alike:

Inversions don’t really matter.

Inversions are essential in boosting confidence.

Getting upside down isn’t the goal of a yoga practice or class.

When you get upside down, it can uplift you as if you just got lucky.

And the list goes on.

But one of the best and funniest and most helpful comments on inverting was this:

Doing a handstand or headstand is cool and beneficial, but it’s not like you win the lottery or hit enlightenment after nailing one.

Even with those helpful words in my head, why do I continue to feel like a weak-willed weakling when I can’t flip my POV on my own?

The short answer: because it looks really cool.

Immediately my mind turns to Instagram, a useful but sometimes detrimental tool in the world of yoga. More often than not, I am bombarded by photos and videos of yogis nailing scorpion, handstand, headstand, moving from wheel to handstand to scorpion in Cirque du Soleil moments of body bending perfection that borders on unreachable. Also, I’m not sure how my TJ Maxx leggings and Kohl’s sports bra adorning my curvy and imperfectly beautiful frame can compare to the svelte and super fit and photo-worthy Lululemon and Outdoor Voices I see stretched up to the sky.

But then I remember: yoga isn’t about competition. Yoga isn’t about hitting every pose. Yoga isn’t about Instagram likes or followers. It’s about finding that healthy balance between caring for yourself and pushing yourself. It’s about self-discovery, seeing where you’re at today and being ok with that, and being open to challenges and new things, all the while keeping in mind yoga is a practice, and the progression of poses takes time.

With this in mind, I know I’ll continue to practice inversions, because I want to continue to work outside my comfort zone, but I’ll also know that reaching my spiritual bliss is attainable with or without mastery of them. I have power and confidence and beauty in me regardless. The surety of Sirsasana is fleeting. The surety in me is, well, eternal.

Mandy Marcuccilli@gmail.com

Although Mandy’s hometown is Madison, WI, she is proud to call New Orleans her second home. After living in a few different cities – Baltimore, DC, Houston, Austin – Mandy finally found a city that is the perfect blend of all other places she’s lived, embodying culture, history, character, freedom, and opportunity. After two years of being a dedicated yogi, Mandy decided to complete her 200-hour yoga training at The Church of Yoga Laughing Lotus in New Orleans. She can’t wait to blend her yoga knowledge into words as part of the Yoga Digest writing team.