While Handstand may not be the pose for you Shoulderstand is an easier inversion since it requires less balance and strength. It's not only great for stretching out the back of your neck and your upper back, two areas that rarely get stretched, it also increases blood circulation to the brainThis will offer a burst of energy, uplift your mood, and can cure that nagging headache. Getting an upside down perspective is also very calming, and can help reduce anxiety. As Shoulderstand puts a ton of pressure on your neck and upper back, refrain from doing this pose if you suffer from pain or injuries in this area.
|Sanskrit Name: Salamba Sarvangasana
English Translation: All limbs with support
Also Called: Shoulderstand
- Begin lying on your back on a mat or rug. Come into Plow with your feet over your head and your hips over your shoulders, hands interlaced.
- Unclasp the hands and bring them to your lower back, fingertips pointing up toward the ceiling. Keep your elbows on the ground, and try to bring them as close together as you can so they are in line with your shoulders.
- Slowly lift one leg straight up, and then the other, with the shoulders, hips, and feet in one line.
- Try to keep your body completely relaxed, and don't clench your butt muscles. If you find it difficult to breathe (bigger breasted women have this complaint), just shift your hips away from your head a few inches.
- If you're feeling any pressure in your neck, press the back of your head into the ground. Do not move your head to either side; just keep it in line with your spine to prevent straining a muscle.
- Stay here for ten or more breaths, and then slowly lower your feet back down toward the ground, coming back into Plow. From here, bend your knees, and shift your hips down to the floor, hugging your knees into your chest.
Since this pose is an inversion, you'll feel a burst of energy from the blood rushing to your brain. That also means if you try and stand up too quickly after doing this pose, you may feel a little dizzy. So be sure to take your time coming out of this pose.