Thinking about taking an Iyengar class

So I went to the Iyengar site in NY to see what types of classes they have.  There are four levels and they are mostly  ranked by how long you can hold sirsasana (head stand).  If you can hold it for 5 minutes, you are level III, if you can hold it for 10, you are level IV.

So how long exactly can I hold it?  I wondered.

I was under the impression that 10 minutes would be no issue… well, it was.  I can barely hold it for four minutes it turns out.  I will have to work it up to 5! if I want to take the level III one.

Iyengar is pretty specific about holding the headstand for a looooooong time, and I have noticed that we ashtangis tend to dismiss the enjoyment of being upside down for long.  I have noticed in my shala only a few adventurers who stay there for a while.  I have to admit sometimes I try, but sometimes my head hurts.

During head stands, as a health benefit, the lymphatic system is aided by the reverse gravity, but this does not really kick in (or so a teacher told me), until minute number 5!

How long do you hold sirsasana for?  and I mean before you get the legs down at the 45 degree angle (as in picture which, by the way, is me… only you cannot ever find my head under that red sweater)


10 Responses to Thinking about taking an Iyengar class

  1. bindifry February 13, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    on fridays my teacher holds it with us for 100 breaths. not sure how long that is.

  2. Portside February 13, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    With consistent work and in less than a month managed to get up to 6 minutes. After a primary upto Kapo B morning practice I average about 3.5 min (singing the bithday song in my head about 8 times – the only way I can keep time upside down). <br /><br />One of my Iyengar teachers has been working with us to &quot;find the balance point&quot; in sirsasana – as she described it, energetically it

  3. Claudia February 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Hi Bindy, I wonder how fast or not so fast does that teacher count, I breath for about 8 seconds to each breath cycle, to that would mean for me 800 seconds or 13 minutes! but if the teacher counts at a rate of 2 seconds each number, which is my guess, that would be 3 minutes, or 3 seconds would be 5 minutes… oh! do tell, I am curious now!!! :-)<br /><br />Portside, you are quite right, we

  4. Boodiba February 13, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    I normally do five minutes in my self practices that are non astanga, and after a shoulder stretch it is the 2nd pose I do. I HAVE done ten minutes before, just to see if I could. I didn&#39;t enjoy it though I have to say!

  5. Helen February 14, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    Hi Claudia,<br /><br />I go to an Iyengar class once a week and we do a 5 minute headstand and shoulder stand. try to do this in my Ashtanga practice too, usually a couple of times a week. It&#39;s a nice place to work with the breath. I would do it everyday but my Ashtanga practice is long and sometimes I&#39;m too tired.

  6. Mandy February 14, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    HI Claudia, left you an award on my blog:) Namaste!

  7. Claudia February 15, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    B, that is the thing, guess I could force myself to stay in it but would not enjoy it…<br /><br />Helen, totally, I also like to breath deeply when I am on headstand, yesterday I tried again and the slow, very slow breathing helps… I know what you mean about it being a long practice<br /><br />Mandy thank you!

  8. Eco Yogini February 15, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    hehe, i can&#39;t even do headstand. :)<br /><br />my body doesn&#39;t like being upside down. perhaps one day, but if it took 5 years to be able to lift up in wheel, then I&#39;m not gaging my practice on when I achieve headstand. :)<br /><br />congrats on 4 minutes!! you will most certainly get there!

  9. Boodiba February 15, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    Ya I think 5m is sufficient. Gets you warm. Makes the delts pop nicely. Enough!!

  10. Claudia February 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi Eco, I like your philosophy of going slow… and I am with you, headstands are scary sometimes…<br /><br />B, thanks for saying that, you know, every time I do headstand now I think of my deltoids… and wonder if they will get pretty, you are in my mind on every headstand… maybe more info than you needed… hee hee hee