HANDSTAND PRACTICE

Yoga BamBam is excited to present Carlos Mendez our International Guest Teacher from Texas.

The very moment he walked in to Yoga Bambam he asked me to show him my handstand. I had just eaten a large lunch & honestly wasn’t expecting to have a Inversion session the very first moment that I met Carlos. I was expecting at least a conversation with him before I threw myself in at the deep end.

After a few days now getting to know Carlos & watching all his private classes I now realise that this man is a straight to the point Yoga teacher. His teacher style is quite dry & with out all that razzmatazz that many of the other International acquire from being placed on a pedestal. Not that there is anything wrong with International teachers being entertaining & elaborately creative. Guest teachers that tour the Yoga studios , Yoga festivals & Retreats of the world are often expected to be phenomenal show people, we indeed expect to get a Bang for our buck as these International Workshop often cost and arm & a leg. So you can imagine my surprise when I met Carlos he very natural & quite simple in his demeanour, their are no frills to this Yogi.The dudewas teaching me the art of inversions in his jeans !

I laughed to myself at the thought of all Yoga Teachers from Texas wearing jeans whilst they teach Yoga. All that Carlos lacked was a Ten Gallon Hat. Carlos Mendez is not what you expect from a Master Yoga teacher. He explicitly asked asked me not to describe him as a Master Teacher nor an expert in Handstands in the promotional publicity for his workshops. Yes, this Yogi really is humble, which is a rarity in the business of over hyped up ‘star’ teachers. Carlos is softly spoken & has a calmness about him that balances perfectly with the fact that he glows. Yes he glows. Behind his soft enigmatic smile & tranquility there is a subtle glow about him. I see his light, it shines when he is teaching & when he is upside down. However his light shines the brightest when he speaks about his deceased Yoga Master Kumar Pallana. When Carlos speaks of Kumar his energy beams ten fold, you feel Kumar’s presence his lineage is self explanatory

So there I was in my first handstand with Carlos, belly full of food & feeling rather sleeping, if the truth be known I was nervous & retissant about the way Carlos ambushed me in the handstand session. JUST with a few simple words I was balancing effortlessly in handstand. JUST with a few corrections I was up & grinning, Carlos didn’t even assist me! He JUST stood there in his jeans smiling & saying that we had a lot to work on. Of course I was ecstatic to have progressed instantly with Carlos, yet somewhere my ego was kinda stubbed. Was it that easy? Had I been wasting my time all these years? What the f*ck? Or was it just a fluke that I had so easily floated into handstand after 2 minutes with this dude? Yep, I was kinda piss*d off that my success was instantaneous.

In truth I think that all those years of training and strength work had accumulated in to me being ready for the teachings of Carlos. It wasn’t magic that has miraculously got me standing on my hands with Carlos. My handstand journey started 4 years ago when I started practicing AcroYoga I’m not a natural gymnast nor even a bendy person, learning inversions & Yoga for me has taken years of soul searching, years of practice & way too much MONEY. Yet there I stood effortlessly in a handstand in front of this small Mexican Yoga teacher. Between you and me it was a MAGICAL MOMENT yet I don’t want to mislead you in to thinking that Carlos is magical nor that he’s the best handstand teacher I’ve ever met. This is only my 2nd day studying with him I am not not easily convinced ! What I can Share with you dear readers is the article that Carlos Mendez wrote for you. I hope that this will shed some more light on Who is Carlos Mendez ?

My name is Carlos Mendez my teacher,Kumar Pallana was born in a small village outside of Mumbai in 1918. He started his Yoga practice at the age of 6 when he asked the owners of a gymnasium if he could clean up after all the other kids in exchange for being able to sleep there and practice after the gym was closed. He mastered the handstands by age 13 and went on to become one of the top acrobatic entertainers in the world in the 1940s and 1950s.

Kumar travelled around the world performing on stages all over the world and ended up in the United States where he was featured in several TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show, You Asked For It, The Mickey Mouse Club, Captain Kangaroo, and many more. He even performed at Frank Sinatra’s birthday party. Most recently he starred in several films including Wes Anderson’s Bottlerocket , The Royal Tenebaums, and Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

When Kumar was a kid he learned from many travelling Yoga Teachers but he often spoke about one teacher in particular who taught him the handstands. This teacher (Kumar ever told me his name) was a book keeper in an office, he would come down to the gymnasium during his lunch hour to teach the kids before heading back to work.

This office worker would have the kids Practice on the roofs of houses and on the edge of tall buildings where he said, “You could not make a mistake”.

Kumar always became serious when talking about his teacher and said that he wished he could see him one more time to thank him for giving him the opportunity to leave his modest origins & travel the globe.

The techniques Kumar taught, as he reminded me often, went all the way back to the early 1900’s and that the most important thing in the handstands or any other trade was to practice every day, even if it was for just 15 minutes a day. When I started my practice with Kumar, he would sit and watch me kick up to the wall for hours at a time, sometimes 6 to 8 hours in a day, correcting my mistakes as we went along. There were days when I could barely put my clothes on because I was so sore. There were nights when I would wake up in the middle of the night “kicking” into a handstand. Then there were days when we would laugh and he would even play jokes on me during the practice.

One of the most important things he taught me is that with regular practice and lots of persistence, anything is possible.
I once asked Kumar what the scariest thing he ever did was and he mentioned this photo of him 5 stories in the air. He said it wasn’t a perfect handstand because he was leaning so much. He said he was leaning so much because the wind was blowing him towards the edge of the building – Carlos Mendez

Carlos Mendez is the guest teacher at Yoga BamBam until Feb.16th. He is available for Private Yoga sessions everyday & will be teaching Hatha Yoga classes ( I highly recommend that you join) & Workshops in Inversions & Balancing. True to Kumar’s circus background Carlos also has his juggling rings with him & a few other tricks up his sleeves I’m sure.

To book a private Yoga session or private Group sessions please contact high@yogabambam.com His teachings are perfect for Yoga teachers & aerialists. His workshops start from the very beginning & progress at the rate of the individual student making them accessible to mostly every Yogi or aerialist.

Yoga BamBam also offers weekly Over Easy Inversion classes which are designed to give technique in Inversions to Yogis like myself who are learning how to balance upside down. No experience in Inversions is required for these classes. The key word is EASY, because with the right instruction & plenty of support everyBODY can learn how to turn their worlds up side down.

Yoga BamBam• 28 Pound Lane •Sheung Wan • Hong Kong • http://www.YogaBamBam.com • Online Booking • No Membership • No middlemen nor costly overheads • Just lots of Yoga, joy & creativity in a small designer studio.

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