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In classical hatha yoga lore, Headstand (Salamba Sirsanasa) and Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) are known as the king and queen of the asanas. They are practiced in tandem and their benefits are supposedly mutually beneficial. Headstand is known as a pose that heats up the body, while Shoulderstand cools it down.

I love Headstand (and all inversions, actually) and practice it regularly. However, here is my dirty little secret: I never follow it with a Shoulderstand. Unless I’m in class and forced to. Because I detest Shoulderstand.

It’s more than a mere dislike. I have a strong physical aversion to the pose. This cooling affect that it’s supposed to have – not on me, yo. I feel hot and agitated. I fill with rage and hatred. I experience more discomfort than I do in any other physical position. The skin on my back flares up and reddens, and sometimes I actually break out in a rash.

More than anything, though, I am overcome by self-loathing. Upside down and literally faced with the parts of my body that I am least satisfied with – my belly, my thighs (and seriously, gravity doesn’t flatter these parts in any way) – I feel heavy and fat and ugly. Read the rest of this entry »


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