Plea for feedback : )

Since the New Year, my practice has been all about backbends and inversions. I did just recently start attending a weekly class, but my practice is mainly at home these days, so sometimes I worry I’m lapsing into bad habits. I know there are some seasoned yogis and teachers who occasionally read this blog, so I thought I could take some photos of the more challenging poses (with my hubby’s cooperation!) and put them on here to get input. Thoughts?


Pigeon: (I’ve been a little too scared to reach back and grab that foot, but it only recently started reaching my head)


Headstand: (I have worked hard on this one and have seen vast improvement in the past 6 weeks, but still need that wall for now!)

Shoulderstand: (tried this one with the self-timer, so I threw that last one in for your amusement :))



13 responses to “Plea for feedback : )

  1. I think it all looks pretty good. Does it feel good, because at the end of day only you know your own body.

    The only things I’ll say are, in upward bow, try it with a block or cushion between your knees to focus on keeping the thighs in alignment (warning, this is hard).

    I would recommend, if you prefer home practice, that maybe seeing a teacher two or three times a year for a one to one might be a good idea, just to keep yourself in check and to keep moving forward :)

  2. You don’t “need” the wall.
    Trust me.

    After doing half-dozen headstands against the wall I realized that I’d never back off from it if I didn’t soon.
    So I just went to the middle of the room and proceeded. I’ve only fallen over twice.

    Trust me.

  3. oh, by the way, my yoga teacher said to me once, “think of headstand and shoulder stand as upside-down tadasana. Once I flattened my feet out so they looked like I was standing on the ceiling, and rotated my feet inwardly, I found those two poses to be straighter.
    They look good!

  4. Rachel- great question. For the most part it all feels good. Saturday I overdid it on the headstands and the handstand kicks and felt sore through my shoulders and lower neck. But 90% of the time it all feels excellent : )

    Karen- I practice headstand with and without the wall. With the wall, I land lightly with my heels and just need to bounce off a bit afterwards. Without the wall, I am slowly raising my knees away from my belly but haven’t quite gotten there yet. I think integrating pike pose is a challenge I’m not quite up for yet! : )

  5. I think you look great Jamie, but its so hard to tell in pictures. I agree with the comments above. Listen to your body. Really. You know better than anyone.

  6. my favorite headstand hint is to bring your elbows in an inch on both sides from wherever you are. basically, they should be closer together than you think. anyway, it worked for me.

  7. Your pigeon is gorgeous! That’s one thing I’m working on. Pigeon and double pigeon. But if you need any help with any of the poses I have shown on my site under the yoga tab let me know! For the head stand I find it easier if I move my elbows in closer and try not to use my head as much.

  8. Doing it “right” or “well” is something we cannot see. Yoga is not about achieving something with your body – it is a state of being where you connect with your heart. Yoga is union. No one could see from a photo if you are doing that “well” – but perhaps those if your life can tell you if they see you shining with joy, caring for others with compassion, speaking and living from the heart. They may be able to tell you if you are successful in your practice! Namaste!

  9. Thanks for the elbow tips everyone. I am definitely going to try that.

    Kris- I’m not so much looking to do it “right” as I am checking that I’m not misaligned somewhere causing potential for long-term injury. I used to do terrible things to my shoulders and knees before a teacher cared enough to show me more comfortable, safer ways to approach yoga! And I suppose it all depends on who you ask if I live up to my yoga off the mat. : )

  10. What a fun (gutsy) idea to post poses for suggestions. It’s nice to hear other advice (esp. the “move elbows in an inch” idea). Your pigeon is lovely, the headstand is lovely (sometime I do mine next to the bed so hips up have no support, but I definitely can’t tip over).

    Check your neck in bow. I think you want to continue that elegant curve of the spine (like you demo in pigeon) up and out thru the top of the head. In this picture, it looks like your head is jutting out.

    I need to hop back on the backbend wagon, too. Cheers!

  11. Hi Jamie,

    Reinforcing everything everyone has said here! You look fab.

    On headstand, what really helps me is to engage the thigh muscles. This effectively tucks the tailbone, rotates the thighs inwards as someone mentioned, and stops your lower back from taking stress. It will also bring your feet so that they are directly over your shoulders – in the photo your feet are still floating back a bit. It’s a wierd balance – when i first did it I always felt that my feet were too far forward, like if I looked up I would see my toes! But then I reckoned, well, better too far forward than too far back!

    The other thing is to “roll” the shoulderblades together on your back to avoid that stress in shoulders and neck – elbows very close helps this. Oh, and need we say it? Core, core and core!!

    [2 of the same points – thighs/tailbone tuck and core – really help me in shoulderstand too]

    I made the mistake of learning headstand using the wall as a prop – it took me forever to learn it again without the wall!!

    What I ended up doing was moving my mat a bit farther from the wall and making sure that I came up purely on my own steam (core, core, core… LOL!). When I was able to do it about 20 days in a row without needing the wall at ALL, I put down a whole lot of pillows and tried it in an open room.

    Overall you look great!!! On Upward Bow, you can start to shift some of your weight forward so your shoulders come more over your hands – there are some fun variations to play with from there. :)


  12. Brenda- it didn’t take much guts, because all of my blog friends have a lot of tact and compassion! : ) I LOVE your suggestion to do headstand by the bed, why didn’t I think of that?? Thanks for the comments!

    LaGitane- wow, can’t thank you enough for such a thorough response! I will try everything you suggested.

    You all are so great : )

  13. that pigeon is very impressive!

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