Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Flip Your Perspective in Salamba Sirasana

January Pose of the Month - Supported Headstand

There is no better time to take on a new view than the new year. While you are thinking up and sticking to those resolutions this year, include headstand in your practice to help stimulate your mind and relieve stress.
By reversing the normal effects of gravity, salamba sirsasana rests the heart, deepens breathing and aids circulation. It also improves memory and concentration – who couldn’t use more of that this year?

Benefits of this pose include but are not limited to:

  • Calms the mind
  • Strengthens the arms, legs and spine
  • Improves balance
  • Feeds a supply of fresh oxygen-rich blood to the brain cells
  • Creates a sense of physical and emotional well-being
  • Rests the heart and other organs with change of blood flow
  • Relieves pressure on the lower back
  • Helps relive varicosities 
  • Improves digestion 
How to:
If you are new to the pose, use a folded blanket on your mat for more head support and position yourself near the wall. This way, when you kick up you have the wall for security to start.
1. Come to your hands and knees. Lower to forearms and clasp your hands - they should make a triangle shape.  
2. Place the crown of your head on the floor, with the back of your head cupped by your interlaced fingers
3. Raise the hips in the air coming into a modified downward facing dog-pose. The weight should be placed on the flat spot at the top of your head. Make sure that the elbows are shoulder width apart and the head equidistant from each elbow.  
4. Walk the feet in towards your head until your hips are over your shoulders – keeping the legs as straight as possible. 
5. Kick up one leg and then the other. Or, you can get into the pose by, pulling your knees up to your chest and your heels close to your buttocks. Bring the bent legs up - be sure to keep the legs together as you raise the knees. To assume the final position, unfold the legs so that they point straight upwards. 
6. Press down strongly into your forearms to keep all your weight from coming into your neck and head.  Your body and spine should be aligned just as they are in tadasana, the simple standing "mountain" pose.
7. Reach up through the balls of your feet and rotate the thigh bones inward slightly. Hold for at least 10 breaths.

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