Get a heads up

Updated: Aug 17, 2018, 10:34 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani

A workshop on upside down exercises helped us understand the importance of balance in fitness

Get a heads up

The only exercise we manage every day is the walk from our desk to the coffee machine. Muscle strength is a constant source of worry. This makes us the perfect candidate to try Upside Down, a beginners' handstand workshop, aimed at helping one understand the importance of finding their centre.

"Will we be able to do a handstand or a headstand by the end of this?" is the first question that we throw at Rohit Chawla, dancer, trainer and conductor of the workshop. The final result, he says, depends on the fitness levels of each individual. But with a little help, chances are we will be able to achieve a headstand. This however shouldn't be our motto is what Chawla explains.

So we step into our session with a positive attitude and hopes of turning our world upside down, literally. Chawla, who has trained TV and Bollywood junta, is encouraging from the minute we start. "If you can walk on your legs, you can walk on your hands too. It's all about muscle memory, core strength and improving your balance. Weight isn't a concern, nor is age," he tells us as he shows us videos of children as young as six, having a ball during previous workshops, "Kids don't get embarrassed, which is why they learn faster."

ON: August 18, 4 pm
AT: Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School, Andheri West.
CALL: 8655556600
COST: Rs 400

1. Reach the venue 15 minutes earlier, so that you calm down. We begin with warm-up and core activation poses. Engaging one's muscles is crucial, as these poses will assist us later to complete the upside down exercises without injury. These also help focus the mind. The body needs to be accustomed to the shift of the centre of gravity and the third set of poses in the workshop help aid this. It's definitely working, as we become conscious of our wrong posture and can feel the blood rushing to our palms and a tug in our torso. Once done, we take a deep breath and go topsy-turvy.


2. We first start with on-the-wall inverted frog pose. The warm up exercises come into play now, as they form the core of all the poses. We struggle with the first pose; our wrists and elbows can take the pressure, but due to very poor core strength (weak torso muscles) we find it difficult to push both our legs against the wall. Chawla is extremely encouraging; each time we fall back down, he calmly explains the reason why we don't manage to complete the pose. And this information helps, as we are able to gauge the areas that need working on.


3. Next, we try the reverse handstand. By now, we get a little familiar with certain unused muscles and see a little improvement. We manage to put both our feet against the wall, for a second. We can feel the blood rushing to our face and head. We constantly keep reminding ourselves that the aim is to keep calm and find our balance, and not just do a handstand. By this time, we are set to attempt the headstand.


We feel pumped, and with Chawla's help, we manage to do a headstand against a wall. We don't do so well with the next poses - regular handstand and back walker. But we can feel our heart beat in full gusto. Once our wrists give up, we get into a cool down. Soon after this session, we are closer to reaching our toes, "This is because you engaged your muscles," Chawla explains. We realise that it's still not late to look after each muscle, and even simple exercises that don't need any gym equipment can help you find balance in life.

Benefits of going upside down
* Improved balance, upper body and core.
* Relief from cervical pain and shoulder stiffness.
* Increased brain activity that helps with problem solving skills.
* Better skin thanks to the rush of blood.
* Mood enhancer.

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