Headstand

Marija, the yoga teacher, demonstrates the headstand. Kneel on all fours. Make a little basket with your hands keeping your elbows close together and your forearms on the floor. Then place the crown of your head on the floor, cupping the back of your head in your hand-basket. Now, straighten your knees in a short downward dog pose. Walk towards your face, trying to raise your sit-bones over your shoulders. Press hard on your forearms; they support you, not your head. Slowly raise one foot to touch your seat. If it feels okay, raise it over your head and slowly lift the other leg.

Marija is on the doughy side. Standing around, she looks neither strong nor graceful, but her movements are beautiful as she slides from one asana to another. Sometimes it makes me petulant to watch her, knowing I still can’t touch my own toes. I rolled my eyes at the guy beside me as she carefully explained the pose upside down. I’d tried a headstand before and jammed my neck. It was daft, just a stunt pose for the Jivamukti ads in Time Out.

With bad grace I knelt down and stuck my head on the floor. I was still making beet-faced faces at the chap opposite when Marija coaxed me to put one foot up, and then the other. And there I was, standing on my head.

“Holy shit!” I said, truly surprised. I burst out laughing. Marija looked slightly pained at my lack of yoga decorum.

I am standing on my head.

It is so wonderful to turn your notions of yourself upside down once in a while.