Monday, April 8, 2013


I'm hoping the third time's a charm.
I hit my head at yoga. Then, I did it again and, shortly thereafter, once more. 

These three hits happened accidentally on purpose as part of my efforts to drop into a backbend from standing. 

It’s scary, but I am not ready to stop. I console myself with the thought that hitting one’s head is supposed to happen in three’s so, hopefully, I’ve also hit my quota. 

I’m not sure why I feel so compelled to get into a backbend this way when I can get there in other ways. I can’t really identify my incentive, but I feel like it’s a barrier that I have to break through.  

I also must confess that this might partly be a mission by the high achiever that resides inside this sometimes fearful girl. 

What I do know is that it’s not really so yogic to push as if going into some kind of battle that I am impatient to win. I know I’m not supposed to fight to get a pose, but that hasn’t stopped me from setting a deadline for myself on this. 

My best guess is that backbends are supposed to be about opening the heart and the dipping back is supposed to be about facing fears. So maybe on some level I am trying to do both. 

It’s a surrendering. 

And I think that’s my barrier. It’s risky to surrender. 

I do take the instructor’s words to heart when he says to crack open your chest when we bend back in any fashion. This imagery really works for me, helping me to lean further and further back, to lift my heart up and back, to lift my arms and stretch out of my lower back and to get a good look at the back wall. 

My heart has been closed for business for a long time.  

Maybe that’s my barrier, too. 

Several times a week, at the end of class, the instructor dips me back three or four times. That’s when I hit my head for the first time, even though I landed my hands. 

We’ve been doing this for a few months, and now he says he is spotting me less and less. I have a much better feel now for how I need to ground myself more in my feet, tighten more in my core and straighten more in my arms in order to make a safe and strong landing. 

The other day, I arrived home after a good practice, thinking the time has got to come when I risk dipping back on my own. 

And I decided that time could be now. I could surrender now. 

So, I laid out my mat, put a chair cushion in the middle as a safety net and set myself up to dip back, on my own, all by myself.

Ever so slowly, I reached up and bent back, back, back, until I passed the point of no return and landed my hands with a bounce. 

A big day! I could even do it again and again! 

I took that confidence to class the next day, only to have it buoy me for one but not another, when I landed my hands but then bounced on my head. Hit number two. 

The instructor made me do it again for the very reason I hit my head. 

Another day later, another class, another try. And that’s when I reached my quota, hitting my head for the third time.

And now I feel like I’ve hit some sort of wall, even though it’s really just the mat. 

I'm scared to try again. 
This has turned into a bit of an emotional endeavor without too much rational thought, the existence of which may be moot anyway should I keep hitting my head.

But what I do know is that I need to keep trying.

I want to get to the other side of that barrier and see what's there.


  1. Which backbend were you trying Anne? Was hitting your head from a loss of balance or did your arms just give way?

    Perhaps you need to go into the backbend slower, with more control? This would take a much stronger core stability, but it would certainly minimize the head bumping.

    1. Hi Hui!

      I was trying the one where you stand with hands at heart and slowly tilt back, so you go from standing then bending back and dropping into a backbend.

      I am going to take your advice on moving through this slowly with more control because each time I hit my head it was because my arms gave way. I keep thinking my arms aren't strong enough or that they are not straight enough.

      Tonight, I'll try again and go as slowly as possible.

    2. So as I understand it, you start with hands at heart and then progress into wheel as the final pose? Do your arms cope well in just wheel? It could be that when you land, your arms are not in the proper position to support you and so give way.

    3. Well, tonight I told the instructor that a yogi on the other side of the world advised that I go slower and so that's what we did. I did better in that way, concentrating more on my core and not popping my hands open until I absolutely had to land them. You gave me good advice!

      Also, you are correct about my needing to work on my arm position in wheel. I see some people have Tadasana arms in wheel, and mine remain bent.