Please meet Heidi Mottorn. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s featured student for this month’s newsletter. Heidi has a beautiful yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates tripod headstand pose (Sirsasana II).
Mind Body Flow Yoga’s Very Own Heidi Mottorn
My journey with yoga started in September 2014. I drove past MBFY everyday and wondered if yoga was something I would be able to do. I was battling two ear and balance disorders (Meniere’s Disease & Superior Canal Dehiscence). My body was sore and my balance was not good.
I finally decided it was time to start fighting for my own well being and give it a try. I wanted to feel more balanced physically and in my life as a whole. I felt very welcome at MBFY from the moment I stepped through the doors. Carrie and Marina were so enlightening and made me feel comfortable being there. I struggled through the heat and the moves at first, but as the weeks went on, I found that each practice got a little easier. I realized the heat helped me relax my muscles to get a little deeper into my pose and I found myself holding poses I thought I’d never be able to do. When I first started, I could hardly stand on one leg. Through my practice, yoga has helped me gain my balance.
I’ve had some setbacks along the way, but I got myself back into the routine of being on my mat and having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Over the past 7 months, I lost my dog of 13 years, had Meniere’s attacks that lasted all of January and February, had a big transition at work, surgery, and lost a very close relative.
Through it all, I found that what I was taught at practice has helped me get through these really tough times. As my body was spinning and tilting when having a Meniere’s attack, I grounded myself on the floor doing light stretches and focusing on my breath as we are taught. When my relative was ill and moments before his passing, I carried that knowledge of breathing with him.
When I was struggling with stress and anxiety, I focused again on my breath and once the vertigo was not as bad, I headed back to yoga. My muscles were tight and sore. My balance was very shaky coming back, but I knew if I kept at it again that I would soon regain my balance.
All I wanted during those two months was to be able to come back to class because it has been so beneficial to me in so many ways. I was depressed that I was not able to do what I once was able to do and fearful that I might not have a day without vertigo. While I was gone, I realized that the MBFY students, Carrie, Marina, and the other instructors are not just people I see on the mat, but they are caring people who supported me through my toughest times off the mat.
When I recorded the video for this feature, I was very critical of myself for stumbling and Marina and Carrie made me realize again that it is not about doing the perfect pose. That holds to be very true. It is not about the perfect pose. It is about stumbling and falling and picking yourself back up, and to keep trying not only on the mat, but off the mat as well.
I never thought that yoga would change my life but it has. It has taught me so much more than how to get into a pose. It challenges me and has given me a sense of accomplishment.
I’m very happy I decided to make that change in my life in 2014.
Leave a comment below. What stood out to you in the testimonial? What significant experience have you had in your yoga journey?
What is this Pose About?
This is a grounded upside down balancing pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the arms, legs, and spine. Watch Heidi enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it.
Tips for Tripod Headstand (Sirsasana II)
- Walk the feet in to shorten the stance of your Downward Facing Dog.
- Pick up the right leg bending the knee and place it lightly on the right triceps.
- Bend and place the left knee on the left triceps as well ,so you’re in a tripod.
- Instead of letting the weight bear down on your arms, keep the triceps engaged by pushing them into the knees to resist the weight. This will help you keep the shoulders lifted as well.
- Take a deep breath in and lift your knees off the triceps. Lift the hips up as the thighs draw tight to the chest. Stay as compact as possible to help your center of gravity and core engage.
- Every few breaths remind yourself to lift the shoulders and keep the elbows in. Once the hips stack over the shoulders, the weight of the legs will lessen and the core will engage. Squeeze in through the lower belly to lightly pull the knees off the arms into a pike position in your chest.
- Keep the inner heels and big toes touching as the legs draw up towards the ceiling. Feet are flexed powerfully.
- Hug the inner thighs to the midline, expand through the backs of the knee caps and spread the toes.
- From here you can reverse the process back into Child’s Pose or keep the feet flexed, keep the body strong like plank and float into Chaturanga.
- Calms the mind and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Strengthens the arms, legs, and spine
- Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands
- Strengthens the lungs
- Tones the abdominal muscles
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Therapeutic for asthma, infertility and insomnia
- Use caution with this pose if you have a back injury, headache, heart condition, high blood pressure, menstruation, neck injury, or low blood pressure.
- Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it throughout your pregnancy. However, don’t take up the practice of this pose after you become pregnant.
- Tripod headstand (Sirsasana II) is considered to be an intermediate to advanced pose. Do not practice this pose without prior experience or unless you have the supervision of an experienced instructor.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?