Friday, November 13, 2009

Dropback Headbutt

I did it today!

I actually full-on landed on my head, head-butting the floor in dropbacks. In a shala full of people. I think I heard some gasps too.


It's what I've feared all this time, so I'm glad I've got it out the way.

I must've been so pleased with myself that I didn't just do it once either, it happened a couple of times.

Teacher's Assistant came to me at dropbacks today and said "Try some on your own before we do assisted". I was like "Ugh, really? Noooooo." She kinda hovered near me for support (of the cheerleading kind) but I really felt like a kid on the first day of school - clinging on and screaming "Mummy mummy! Don't go!" (Of course this was my internal monologue. On the outside, I was a cool cat).

But then I thought "Screw it. Let's do this". Gotta take those training wheels off at some point, right?

It's that last bit, after your head passes that Limbo-Rock point, y'know, when your torso's kind of "parallel" to the floor. After that point, I feel like I'm dropping into the abyss then everything goes pear-shaped. And my head found the floor before my hands did.

To my (dis)credit, I have done this before - but on my own at home. And I have crash-landed A LOT harder than I did today. So I dunno whether it's coz I was in a room full of other people that I quickly braced myself and ended with a lighter crash, or whether it is a slightly improved dropback coz the crashes were not so hard.

After the first one, I collapsed in a heap and started laughing. On the second go, I dropped on my head, then my arms immediately pulled me back up into a backbend again, and I hauled myself to standing from the backbend. It must've sounded a lot harder than it actually felt, or maybe I have a thick skull, coz this is when the people on either side of me gasped. I felt totally OK though, and my ego wasn't as bruised as I thought it would be in a situation like this.

After practice, I asked my teacher what's happening on that last bit - do I need to engage even more of my legs? (Coz I know have a problem with grounding). And she wisely asked "Well... WHY would you land on your head?"

It took me about a second. "Um... because... my arms aren't there before my head?"

D.U.H. Of course.

So she said "You need to straighten your arms coz your elbows are giving way when you land".

DAMMIT! Yesterday, my elbows were rock-solid concrete and I was afraid I would hyper-extend them while landing and hurt them. Today, they're too jello and I'm hitting my head instead.

I'm beginning to feel like I need to wear a crash helmet AND elbow guards until I get these dropbacks sorted! Grr. I don't mind looking like The Stig from Top Gear. Go on, Lululemon! I'll do product R&D for you!

(Photo credt here)


  1. Owie! Still, you seem to be pretty blase about it. Bravo! Can you see the back of your mat when you're in that Limbo-Rock place? "They" say that's when it's OK to go back, but I'm still too chicken to do it without lifting my heels. I'm trying to hang longer and deeper to get past that.

    I whinged and protested about ASSISTED dropbacks back when I started! Out loud, too, not just in my head...."But what if you drop me?" "I'm 6'3". I won't drop you" "But you MIGHT!" wah wah wah - What a brat. I put it down to landing on my head when attempting to do a backflip as a teenager (not my fault, the mats slipped apart, but I never did try again).

    Lemme know if you get that suit rolling - I'll place an order!

  2. Yup! I can see the back of my mat and more (towards me). I keep wondering where my drishti should be - flat on the floor or should i try to bring it to the back of my knees. Haha, that's not possible of course, but that kinda brings your intention/ direction into more of an arc, know what I mean? Still figuring that one out.

    On the second one, I hung there for a bit longer, then I started wondering what to do with my breathing. Coz I had to inhale at the Limbo-Rock point, and then exhale again for the final descent into the abyss. Coz when it's assisted, it's done in 1 breath, so hanging back there was new for me and felt different today.

    I've never dropped back with heels lifted (at least I don't think I do this). I have trouble grounding enough as it is, have to keep working my quads... can't imagine dropping back the way you do! With your backflip story, I'm impressed you're still attempting any other kind of backbend!!

  3. Hahahaha, I did the EXCACT same thing yesterday in the shala!

    I was doing halfsies, hang backs, with the teacher just standing on my toes (making them NOT turn outwords) and tapping me on the thighs when coming up to remind me to engage the legs. The third time I was probably feeling over confident, or maybe just wassn't concentrating enought about the fact that I was actually pretty much on my own, and I felt that point of no return - and crashed. And when your hands are crossed in front of the chest there's NO way theyre gonna come down and take some weight of the head. First time crash for me though, but it wasn't THAT bad either? The shock of realizing it was about to happen was way worse than the actual crash. And I too just rolled over and laughed. Think the rest of the shala was way more shocked than me though, I was all the way up front, ant it sounded way worse than it felt. Hope I didn't scare anyone else off from doing their hang backs/drop backs...

    Btw, just discovered your blog, and loved to read about the Sharath workshop! And a high five for the head land!

  4. Hi I've also recently discovered your blog, your doing a great job of honestly expressing your journey.

    Fair play to you for being so upbeat about the landing on your head, glad you were okay. Sharath tells people to bring a helmet if they land on their head, always had a funny image in my head about that but the spaceman is hilarious!

  5. Thanks, Gledespiken and Helen! And welcome! ...and yeah, come to think of it, that's probably where I got it from - Sharath did say a couple times to wear a helmet in backbends. They're more apt for dropbacks though! ...I think I was probably in denial about the headbutt, or trying to play cool in front of the shala. :p

  6. phew i have just read through all your sharath goodness - i did the workshop too (met you briefly on the last day outside while chatting with renata)! thanks for blogging all of that, it made for an awesome read.

    i hear you about the head-drops, it happened to me three times in quick succession so i stopped trying for the longest time. so awesome of you for trying though!

    i'm now doing it again and managing to land on my hands (albeit in a wobbly fashion), so it will definitely come for you! my trick is to really grip my toes into the mat, fix my eyes onto a point on the mat, and straighten my arms a split second before my eyes see the mat.

    i still get nervous doing it in a room full of people though, mine are much better at home alone!

    hope that helps good luck!!!!


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