A Homeless Man’s Headstand

Written by one of my very dedicated yoga students Andrew Hussey who I would like to thank for sharing this very charming story.

Often I go for a walk in Herbert Park in Ballsbridge early in the morning. Sometimes I see a man I guess to be in his late 60’s and homeless. He has long and wild grey hair, a chubby red and friendly but distant face. Because he always wears football shorts I know one of his legs is not fully developed and he drags it a little. He has an old racing bicycle that he sometimes cycles with his good leg doing all the work and sometimes he walks with it using it lean on. His young little brown dog follows him loyally, it looks like a cross between a collie and a terrier.

Last Wednesday, the 1st of February, you might remember it was a very cold night and morning, the frost never really thawed all day. I was a little late arriving in the park, it was about 08:30 and the old man appeared and I saw him walking in his bare feet, as always, across the frozen solid grass wheeling his bike as the dog played with anything he could find and barked at the less wild dogs out for their morning walk.

The sun was coming up over the trees lighting the frosty grass as he walked towards one of the cherry blossom trees that you find in Herbert Park, I wondered where he was going. He took of his old coat and put it on the grass under the small tree and after a short pause put his head on the coat and raised himself to a perfectly still handstand. I looked on amazed as I’ve been trying to do that for a while without too much success. I continued my walk keeping an eye on this calm man holding himself upside down in his shorts, I guess it was still minus one or two degrees. I watched and watched and after half an hour I though I should take a photo to remind me of what I’d seen. I walked over to him and his dog who was sitting peacefully beside his master but as I got closer the dog came to me growling, I was only allowed to get so close. That’s when I took this photo…

I usually would have left at this stage but I wanted to see how long he was going to stay in the handstand position. After 45 minutes he dropped his legs, sat on his coat for about 5 minutes and then continued on his way, leaning on the bike as he wheeled it with the dog running in circles around him.

(Andrew only began yoga mid summer last year and is already hooked to this ancient art.  He is a valuable participant in the  Wednesday evening class.  His own goal is to be able to hold headstand comfortably.  He’s very close.! Impressive for a yoga beginner.)