Salamba Sir­sasana II

Sa = With á Alamba = Sup­port á Sirsa = Head á Asana = Pose Tri­pod Head­stand

Yoga Journal - - YOGAPEDIA -

BEN­E­FITS Strength­ens your arms and shoul­ders; im­proves di­ges­tion; gives you new per­spec­tive, and asks you to face your fears


1 Come to Prasarita Padot­tanasana, and place the top of your head on the mat slightly in front of your hands to form a small tri­an­gle with your head as the apex (high­est point). You want your weight evenly dis­trib­uted among each hand and your head. Think of how a tri­pod, or three-legged stool, bal­ances; you want three strong points of con­tact on the mat. Make sure you can see your fin­ger­tips in your pe­riph­eral vi­sion. Bend your el­bows, and hug them into your mid­line (the imag­i­nary line that runs through the cen­ter of your body) as if you were prac­tic­ing Chat­u­ranga Dan­dasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) arms. Press your hands into the mat, and elon­gate your fin­gers. This will help dis­trib­ute your weight evenly in your hands so you don’t dump into your outer wrists and strain them. Iso­met­ri­cally drag your hands back­ward, which will help en­gage your shoul­ders so that you’re not strain­ing your neck.

2 Lift your shoul­ders away from the floor, and gen­tly draw them to­ward the back of your body with­out pinch­ing or forc­ing. Move your weight for­ward to come onto your tip­toes. (If you have tight ham­strings, bend your knees.) Start to en­gage your core by pulling your feet iso­met­ri­cally to­ward each other as you shift your weight far­ther for­ward. Keep hug­ging your el­bows into your mid­line.

3 Breathe in and out through your nose, cre­at­ing the sound of the ocean at the back of your throat (Uj­jayi Pranayama). Let your breath be the

sound­track of the pose. On an in­hala­tion, be­gin to lift your legs up and out to your sides. As you shift for­ward and your feet and legs start to lift off the ground, your hips will move for­ward. Lift your feet higher, and spread and flex your toes. Lift your kneecaps to keep your legs ac­tive. You are in Prasarita Padot­tanasana in midair. Keep your fin­gers spread wide, and use your fin­ger­tips as brakes to keep from tip­ping over. If at any point you feel strain or pain, come down.

Bear down in your hands and arms. On an in­hala­tion, start to pull your legs up to­ward each other like two mag­nets. Keep ex­tend­ing your legs, en­gag­ing your core, press­ing into your hands, and pulling ev­ery­thing into your mid­line. Bring your in­ner heels and big toes to­gether. Point your feet, and then flex your toes. Pull your rib cage to­ward the back of your body. Keep draw­ing your el­bows into your mid­line to main­tain your bal­ance. Squeeze your in­ner thighs. Iso­met­ri­cally spin your hands out to help you find bet­ter bal­ance. Hold for 5–10 breaths. Lis­ten to the sound of your breath. To come out of the pose, draw your knees into your chest and squeeze them to­gether; then, with a long ex­ha­la­tion, start to lower your feet. Come down as slowly as you can, en­gag­ing your core the en­tire way. Rest in Child’s Pose for an­other 10 breaths to pre­vent a head rush af­ter be­ing up­side down.

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