Did you read Are You Falling for Inversions Yet? Part 1?
Part 2: The King and Queen of Inversions: Supported Headstand and Shoulder Stand
Two of my favorite inversions are Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) and Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana): Referred to respectively as the king and queen of yoga asanas.[youtube]J0-a_RoydT0[/youtube]
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These two postures are energetically related.
In Donna Farhi’s book “Yoga Mind, Body, and Spirit” she explains…
“Headstand tends to heat the body and stimulate the nervous system and strongly tones the neck muscles. Shoulder Stand tends to cool or neutralize the body and sedates the nervous system while releasing the muscles of the neck and shoulders.”
The best way to practice them in sequence is doing the headstand first followed by shoulder stand to balance out the nervous system.
NOTE: You would not want to practice shoulder stands and headstands if you have the following symptoms: diarrhea, headache, high blood pressure, are menstruating, have neck injury, or are pregnant. Opt for a less stressful inversion such as downward facing dog or legs-up-the-wall pose. And for moms-to-be who are in their 3rd trimester: use caution when lying on your back or avoid it all together.
I like headstands not only for the list of great benefits, but because it makes me feel like a kid again. Being upside down for 2-3 minutes gives me a fresh new perspective on life. I like the strengthening in my core, the blood flow to the head, and clarity I experience. I recommend practicing at the wall first and gradually moving to the middle of the room. Start with 30 seconds and then work up to 3 or 4 minutes at a time.
In one of Sianna Sherman’s classes she suggested that inversions are a way of reversing the role of the heart and mind, allowing the head to bow towards the heart and become a servant to it. I like this analogy as it encourages me to live on purpose through my heart desires rather than let the mind dominate and dictate my next actions.
The mind can stifle creativity and also talk me out of my heart’s desires. By switching roles I live more intuitively, acting on intuition with purpose.
For a fresh perspective, try inverting!
Let me know what you like (or don’t like) about inversions. I’d love to hear from you!
If inversions have still got you down, join us for Advanced Yoga Group Classes where we delve into more advanced yoga practices like inversions.