Hump Day Yoga: Headstand

>> Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today is yoga day here on (never home)maker. And what better way to kick it off than with a headstand? According to Yoga Journal, the following are all benefits of striking this pose. And even if you're relatively new to yoga, you can even gain these benefits by performing an assisted headstand, which I'll go over in just a bit.
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands
  • Strengthens the arms, legs, and spine
  • Strengthens the lungs
  • Tones the abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Therapeutic for asthma, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis

Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)
  • The key to trying this pose is being honest with yourself. If you don't feel comfortable, don't try this without a sturdy wall next to you. You may follow all of these steps while set up somewhere against a safe wall. There's no shame in it. It's how I learned.
  • Step 1: Stand with your legs far apart, feet pointed outward, and bend over until your head is close to the ground. Bring your arms down and lace your fingers together. Set your forearms on the floor with your elbows shoulder-width apart. Then place the top (crown) of your head on the floor. 
  • Note: You will notice I do not place my hands in this manner. You may also just place your hands on the ground -- I feel more comfortable doing so. Which will keep your forearms off the ground. I tend to do my headstands this way because it's how I learned them as a gymnast when I was younger. But the "correct" way is to lace your fingers and have your forearms on the ground.
  • Step 2: Do this very slowly so you have the most stability possible. Bring your knees in toward your body and lift them off the floor. Continue lifting through your thighs, bringing your feet upward toward the ceiling (or sky) and straightening your legs. Pay attention to your core muscles to stay balanced.
  • Step 3: Hold the post for as long as you can. If you find you can only shoot up and then swiftly fall over, you may want to practice with a wall.
  • Step 4: To come down, just slowly reverse the process (bring your legs down, bend your knees, bring feet to ground, etc.). Again, again, and again -- slowly.
If this pose is still too weird/scary/strange for you to think of doing on your own, consider partnering. Have someone spot you while you start. And then hold your legs while you're up. Or maybe if you get a bit more comfortable, instead of holding your legs -- they could just hover their arms there to make sure you don't fall.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our yoga-spree, set to come out a little later today. And tell me something, yogis! I've never tried hot yoga before. Is it something I should try out because I'll love it . . . or is it more a fad than anything else? Just curious, because I've heard both good and bad :) Namaste!

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