In every ‘asana’ (seat, or more commonly called pose) - we’re looking for ‘sthira’ (steadiness) and ‘sukha’ (comfort). We work with intelligent sequencing - ‘vinyasa krama’ - in the direction of a particular plane of movement, equilibrium of balance, and building appropriate strength. This approach requires patience and discipline - ‘tapas’ - and fortunately the practice itself develops these qualities in us as we go along.
So before attempting headstand (under the guidance of an experienced and properly qualified teacher), we work over months and years to build strength and control to safely support ourselves upside down without placing any weight on the head (it’s actually an arm balance!) Planks, forearm planks, Down Dogs, and forearm Down Dogs (Dolphin) are some of the postures that we have to be able to hold steadily for a good minute or so before we’re ready to move on. As for folding legs into Lotus - well we need around 115 degrees of external rotation of the femur in its hip socket to make sure that we don’t twist the knees! That’s a LOT, and our chair-based western ways don’t foster that kind of mobility. So we need to sit on the floor a lot more, sit cross legged, and squat. Squat low as much and as often as you can - even if that’s just on a low stool as first - because it’s brilliant for so many aspects of physical health! And then slowly, over a long time, you might start to put complex postures together to continue the journey.
(What you definitely DON’T do is try things like headstand or lotus unsupervised, like I did early on in my yoga days. Saw headstand in class, went home, thought ‘I’m going to try that’, flung myself up with my entire weight on my head, and wound up with a prolapsed disc in my neck. Learn from my idiot mistakes kids 🙄.... it eventually took me about 5 years to learn headstand safely, and probably another 3 to fold into Lotus whilst I’m up there!)
I had an absolutely amazing time exploring Italy! This was the first yoga retreat I’ve ever been on and it was wonderful! I stayed in a beautiful villa in Lucca called “Il Borghino” where we started each day with yoga and meditation, explored Italy during the day and then yoga again in the evening. I am so thankful for all the cool things I got to experience on this trip: staying in a villa with a breathtaking view of the mountains of Tuscany and our own personal cook who served us the most delicious meals I ever had, a bike / walking tour of Lucca, wine and olive oil tasting at a local winery, a boat tour of Cinque Terre followed by hopping off the boat and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, attending a beautiful Puccini opera, seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the colosseum in Rome, and shopping in all the cool stores! This was such a great experience and one that I will remember forever. What made this trip even cooler for me is that my great-great-grandfather was an artist who lived in Lucca, so it was really nice to travel and see and learn about where my family comes from! The food was simply amazing, I loved everything I ate while in Italy! Yoga is so special to me and has helped me with so much in my life and now it’s taking me to other parts of the world and allowing me to have all these cool experiences. I am forever grateful and excited to see where I’ll go next! 😄🧘🏻♀️🇮🇹🙏🏻