Most mothers worry when their children are late to sit up, or late to teethe, or late to walk or talk. My mother worried when at age 3; I could not yet stand on my head. I didn’t master it until I was five.
I rank standing on my head along with swimming, bicycling, and reading as one of the most enjoyable learned experiences of my life. Sorry readers – I do not consider sex to be a learned activity – yes there are learning aspects, but everybody starts out able to do it as soon as the hormones kick in.
Two of my regular yoga teachers include headstands in every class. Students who don’t know how yet, hang upside down on the rope wall, or do their headstands next to a wall so they can catch themselves if they fall. Those of us who can stand on our heads easily, do them in the middle of the room.
After my accident, I had to hang from the ropes for 4 months. Then I progressed to doing headstands against the wall. Now, 7 months later, I’m finally doing them in the middle of the room again. I consider this to be a major victory on the recovery route.
One of the teachers noticed that I still can’t do any of the poses that require flexibility in my left hip. She set me up with a balancing device called a trestler. Fine. I’ll take all the help I can get. Then she told me I should not be doing head stands because I cannot do the standing poses. She says in her training, it is not considered safe to stand on your head until you can do the standing poses.
I used to be able to do the standing poses – before the accident. The fact that my shoulder has healed up enough to allow me to stand on my head before my hip has healed enough to allow me to get into the standing poses, is just the way my body is healing. It makes no sense to me to deny myself the pleasure of what I can do while waiting for other parts to heal.
I learned the yoga poses in the official order. Now, I’m relearning them in the order my body can handle them. I’m not a beginner any more.
I had friends whose children learned to walk without ever crawling. It would make no sense to forbid them to walk.
I used to think my yoga teachers were trying to keep me safe, and teaching me to do what I could handle in a sensible progression. Now I have to learn when to tell my yoga teachers to let me decide what is safe.
I’ve trusted teachers all my life, unless they were blatantly teaching things I knew weren’t true. Then I cooked their goose in front of the whole class. I’m an education addict. Even though I still believe teachers are well-meaning, here I am a grey-haired geezer, finally learning that they are not the best arbiters of when I should learn what.