I started practicing yoga about two years ago, and it changed my life in so many ways: yoga changed how I run, it helped with my anxiety, and it even redirected the course of my career, playing a huge role in how I ended up here at POPSUGAR as a fitness editor.
The practice of yoga can totally be a metaphor for life off the mat – like when certain things come super easily for some people, but they’re totally challenging for you, leading you to feel crazy frustrated (sound familiar?). This was the case for me and headstand. I’ve been enviously watching friends make progress, while I flailed around with my legs (sort of) in the air, but nowhere near vertical.
When our team got to try the TRX for yoga class, I was more than excited. We were told that with the TRX straps, we’d get support, but also instant feedback on our balance and distribution – if you’re familiar with yoga, you know how important this is! So four of us editors headed to the TRX Training Facility in San Francisco, ready to give it a shot and expand our horizons.
The warehouse-style gym was a tad intimidating at first, but the four of us were immediately put at ease thanks to instruction and help from superyogi and trainer Shauna Harrison (she was incredible!). After learning the ropes (pun sort of intended) of the TRX straps, we got started with our practice.
Having the TRX straps in hand (or on our feet!) really did provide immediate feedback. Were our arms level in Warrior II? Were our spines aligned in Warrior III? You knew right away, and it was awesome. It was like having a block for support, combined with a personal instructor for adjustments, all in one piece of equipment. But once we got comfortable and went through our familiar poses, Shauna dropped the H-bomb. She told us we’d been trying headstands.
The practice had been fun and relaxed leading up to this moment, but once “headstand” was mentioned, I got nervous. “There’s no way this is happening for me, and it’s gonna be soooo embarrassing,” I thought. After all, I’m on the fitness team, I’m supposed to be good at this stuff, right? But aside from Fitness Director Susi May, none of us had mastered a headstand yet (and Susi mentioned she hadn’t done one in about a decade!).
Shauna demonstrated how the straps would aid in the process. We got into a plank, feet in the stirrups of the TRX straps. Once in our planks, we created a cradle for our head on the ground with our hands. From there, we piked our hips up, and came into an L-shaped headstand. Susi nailed it on the first try (see below), and I stared at her in awe and bewilderment, thinking “Dang, Susi is super jacked.”
I looked to my left, and our Food editor Anna had also nailed it. Once Shauna showed us how to get one leg in the air, Anna effortlessly lifted her leg like a freakin’ ballerina, and she was there: her first headstand. It was pretty surreal (and like a proud mom, I made her pose for a picture once class had concluded – below).
After seeing a newbie get into this pose so gracefully, I knew it was my turn; Shauna helped with my nerves, and a few seconds later, I mirrored Anna’s pose. I was in my first-ever headstand, leg lift and all. “I DID IT!” I was shaky, perhaps a tad crooked, but I was THERE, standing on my head. I immediately got a rush of pride, gratitude, excitement, and all those accomplished feelings that come with meeting a personal fitness goal. I had just conquered something daunting that had been hoped for in my yoga practice for a year, with the help of TRX straps.
A few Snapchats later, we were all on our way, each of us completely stunned, giddy, and high off of an phenomenal class that none of us had ever experienced. We couldn’t stop gushing about how insane it was that ALL of us got into a headstand, first try, so quickly. Needless to say, TRX will now be a staple in my personal practice, as I train myself to complete a freestanding headstand. Are you struggling the way I have been, and hoping for a headstand of your own? It’s probably time to get these straps into your practice, too!