In­ver­sion Im­mer­sion

Why be­ing up­side down can give you a bal­anced perspectiv­e

Figure Skater Fitness - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - by Kin­ndi McCol­lum

A great way to get out of your head and re­set your mind and body, all in time for com­pe­ti­tion sea­son, is to sim­ply get up­side down. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Na­tional Cen­ter for Com­ple­men­tary and In­te­gra­tive Health, prac­tic­ing in­verted yoga-type po­si­tions can ben­e­fit your men­tal health by al­le­vi­at­ing stress, sup­port­ing self-care and cre­at­ing a mind­ful­ness of oth­ers. It can even help im­prove your sleep.

Hold­ing in­verted po­si­tions, such as a par­tial or shoul­der stand or a clas­sic or tri­pod head­stand can strengthen your core, in­crease your bal­ance, im­prove di­ges­tion, in­crease blood flow to your head, eyes and scalp and re­lease anx­i­ety and neg­a­tive self-mes­sag­ing. Plus, it’ll give you a whole new perspectiv­e on the world and how it looks up­side down. Here’s how to get started.

STEP 1

Find a clear space, free from clut­ter and large enough to lay out your yoga mat. You may wish to choose a spot next to a wall, in case you need a lit­tle ex­tra sup­port stay­ing up­side down. Next, bring the base of your palm to the bridge of your nose and let your mid­dle fin­ger land at the top of your head. Where the tip of your mid­dle fin­ger lands is the fontanel spot; this is where you want your head­stand to land. Avoid bal­anc­ing on the top of your fore­head.

STEP 2

For a Tri­pod hold, po­si­tion your­self on your hands and knees in a table­top and place your hands on your mat shoul­der-width apart. Bend the crown of your head down to the mat, prefer­ably in the cen­tre of your mat so that you can form a tri­an­gle with your head and hands. Your head should not be in line with your hands, but rather slightly for­ward.

STEP 3

Shift your body for­ward and stack your el­bows over your wrists. Curl your toes un­der and straighten your legs. If you need to get a feel for this Tri­pod po­si­tion, feel free to take a mo­ment by stop­ping here and be­com­ing com­fort­able with how your body weight feels in this po­si­tion. To move ahead, bring your knees to your el­bows, en­gage your core and your shoul­ders. Press your feet up to the ceil­ing, flex through your toes.

STEP 4

For a Clas­si­cal Head­stand po­si­tion, do down on your knees and bring your el­bows and fore­arms down to the ground. Next, in­ter­lace your fin­gers and bring the crown of your head down to the mat on the floor. The back of your head is held and sup­ported by your in­ter­laced fin­gers. Check that your el­bows are ap­prox­i­mately shoul­der-width apart. You can make sure you have the right dis­tance if you can grab your right tri­cep with your left hand and your left tri­cep with your right hand. Then, cre­ate a tri­an­gle with your in­ter­laced fin­gers and lean for­ward to place fig­ureskater­fit­ness­mag.com your head on the tri­an­gle. Your head should not be in line with your hands, but rather slightly for­ward.

STEP 5

Curl your toes un­der and straighten your legs, so that they are touch­ing the mat in front of your body and face. Lift your hips up and walk your feet to­wards your face and body. Bending one knee at a time, pull your leg into your body and squeeze your heel to your butt. Re­peat with the other leg. You should now be in an egg-shaped in­verted tick po­si­tion. Make sure to en­gage your core as you press your knees up to straighten hour legs into the head­stand po­si­tion. Press your el­bows and fore­arms down into the mat for sup­port.

STEP 6

For both the Tri­pod and Head­stand holds make sure to come out each po­si­tion slowly and care­fully. You can con­trol this by low­er­ing one leg at a time. Once one foot is back on solid ground, you may lower your other leg.

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