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Pose of the Week: Shoulderstand

By MetroPowerYoga | In Blog | on October 28, 2014

supported shoulderstandShoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) is a great beginning inversion well-suited to yogis who have been practicing for a while but are new to going upside down. First-time practitioners of this pose are wise to work with an instructor when attempting. It is not a pose to try when suffering from a headache or with a neck issue. It helps to calm the mind and body and is great for the thyroid and prostate glands.

How to start:

For beginners to shoulderstand, placing blankets under the shoulders give s nice boost to your upper back and lessens compression through the throat. You may choose to work without a blanket.

If using blankets, fold two or more blankets and stack them one on top of the other. Lie on the blankets with your shoulders supported (and parallel to one of the longer edges) and your head on the floor (blanket use not pictured). Lay your arms on the floor along your torso and bend your knees to set your feet against the floor. Press your arms against the floor, and push your feet away from the floor, lifting your thighs into your torso. Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and back away from the floor, so that your knees come toward your face. Stretch your arms out parallel to the edge of the blanket and turn them outward. Bend your elbows and draw them toward each other. Place the backs of your upper arms on the blanket and spread your palms against your back. Raise your hips over your shoulders and walk your hands up your back while keeping your elbows at shoulder width.

Slowly lift your bent knees up, bringing your thighs in line with your torso and press your tailbone inward, straightening your knees, pressing the heels up toward the ceiling. Lift through the balls of your feet. Soften your face and draw your shoulder blades against the back. Move sternum toward chin. Press the backs of your upper arms and the tops of your shoulders down. Send your gaze to your chest.

Stay for 30 seconds and slowly add time as you practice your shoulderstand until you are comfortable staying for 3-5 minutes. Come down slowly, placing feet towards the ground and then slowly uncurl your spine to the ground. A nice counterpose is Fish, which helps decompress your throat.

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