Why being upside down can give you a balanced perspective
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.