Practice Lab

free hand head stand
I’ve been working with this new idea in my classes about using the elbows to release the shoulders and the head to release the neck.

We carry a lot of emotion in the shoulders and, as a result, the muscles in the shoulders and neck become very reactive. It can be hard to work with the neck and shoulders directly. Consider the following ideas as you go through the following variations:

For the shoulders:
• Think of balancing the elbow joint: stretch evenly through the tip of the elbow and the inner elbow (eye of the elbow)
• As you stretch the arms, instead of stretching through the shoulder joint, think of widening the floating ribs and stretching the shoulder joint away from them.
• Do not over rotate the shoulder joint when the arm is straight. Keep it in line with the webbing between index finger and thumb.

For the neck:
• Soften the roof of the mouth and dome it up towards the skull.
• When turning the head, turn it around the doming roof of the mouth.
• Soften and hollow out the eye sockets. Releaser the back of the neck by slightly pivoting the eye sockets down the length of the body around the eyeballs. (This is an idea form my friend Kristen.)

This is really only the tip of the iceberg of this idea thats been developing as I teach and work with it. If you’re interested in exploring it further, look out for the Intermediate Class Post later in the week.

The sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back with the bolster across the back rather than along it.
• Support the head and arms as necessary.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Block(s) under the pelvis, legs straight and feet at wall.
• Belt wrists.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• On ropes if available.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrsana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana 1 (Vashistha’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Vashisthasana 2 (Vashistha’s Pose 2)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1) INTO Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• Spend some time in both poses to establish the actions well.
• Come out of Shirshasana by returning to Prasarita Padottanasana

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Salamba Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand)
Mukta Hasta Shirshasana (Free Hands Head Stand)
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand) second interlock of arms
Salamba Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1) second interlock of fingers
• Do all these at a stretch, holding for 10-30 seconds on each side.
• Do poses with feet resting on wall to help balance

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over chair

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

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