Yoga - Shoulder Stand Postures Part 1
Yoga - Shoulder Stand Postures Part 1
Shoulder stands form part of the inverted postures of yoga and are considered the Queen of all postures. They can help to improve blood and hormone circulation, calm down the nervous system and reduce tiredness.
Step 1: You will need
- comfortable clothing
- 1 yoga mat
- 2 yoga blocks
- 1 bolster
- 3 blankets
- 1 yoga belt
- 1 chair or stool
- bare feet
Step 2: Posture One: Inverted lake pose
For this posture you will need the use of the wall, the bolster and the blanket.
Place the bolster about 5- 10 centimeters away from the wall and a folded blanket behind the bolster to support the head. Now sit sideways on the bolster as close to the wall as possible. Bring your hands to the floor behind the bolster for support and turn the front of your body towards the wall. At the same time, lift up your legs and lower your upper body and shoulders onto the floor. If your hips have moved away from the wall bend your elbows, lift your hips up and push your body closer to the wall with the help of your hands. Now lie your head down and extend your arms out by the side of the bolster. Close your eyes and relax and stay in the posture for 4-8 minutes. The inverted lake pose is a calming and restorative posture and also helps to reduce depression and to boost confidence. For beginners, this is a wonderful variation of the shoulder stand. Coming out of the posture, bend your knees and roll over to the side and help yourself up gently and slowly.
Step 3: Posture Two: Shoulder Stand
Place three folded blankets onto the middle of your yoga mat. This will help to raise your shoulders and upper body to allow more space and freedom in the back of your neck. Make sure that your chair or stool is placed at the top end of the yoga mat. Take a seated position so that the blankets are behind you. Now with the belt make a loop, shoulder distance apart. Tie the belt above the elbows to keep them in line with your shoulders. Lie down with your shoulders, arms and upper body on the blanket. Your shoulders should be about 3 centimeters behind the end of the folded blanket. Roll the shoulders back and press them into the floor and extend your hands towards your hips. Pull your navel in, make sure your knees are bent and bring the feet close to your hips. Gently swing the lower body up pressing your hands in to the floor for support, exhale lift your hips up and catch hold of your back to support your weight. Bring your legs and hips higher taking your hands further down your upper back. Straighten your legs bringing your chest closer to your chin.
Lengthen your spine and extend your coccyx towards your heels. Press the front of your thighs back and extend through to your heels. Now relax your throat, your face and your eyes. Stay for 3-5 minutes or even more if you can to enjoy the full benefits of this posture.
Step 4: Posture Three: The half plow pose
Stay in the shoulder stand. Now exhale, bend your knees toward your forehead and gently extend each leg placing your feet on the stool or chair. Keep your back extended and relax your hips towards your feet. Stay here relaxed and calm for 3-5 minutes if you can. Exhale and carefully and come out of the pose.
Step 5: Variation Three: The full plow pose
You should do this variation if you feel you are more flexible and do not need the support of a stool or chair. Get yourself into the shoulder stand pose. Exhale and bend your knees to your forehead and gently stretch out each leg and rest your toes or feet on the floor behind your head. Keep your legs straight and lift your thighs, shins and ankles. Stretch the heels away from you. Allow your hips to relax a bit towards your feet. Stay here relaxed and calm for 3-5 minutes if you can. Exhale and then carefully come out of the pose.
Always, in shoulder stands remember to keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and your body and mind calm and relaxed. You should breathe through your nose gently and regularly and if you feel any discomfort at all then come out of the pose you are in.