Why you should be upside down…Part 1
So todays post is about how you can incorporate some more advanced inversions into your yoga practice. I guess the simplest way to describe an inversion would be when your heart is below your head.
If you do practice yoga then you have most likely practiced the most basic poses like down dog or a forward fold. But what about some of the more advanced ones? Like head-stands, hand-stands or Scorpio pose.
The reason I thought it was important to talk about is because they are insanely good for you (I’ m going to do an upcoming post that goes a bit deeper into the benefits) and many of the most hard core traditional yogis do a practice that consists of just meditation and an inversion.
But they are also very intimidating for many people. And often times you won’t see these poses in regular classes because there are risks of injury if they aren’t practiced safely. Although the average person without any existing conditions and a normal body mass index shouldn’t have any problems.
To be honest I have been practicing yoga regularly for about 6 years and I just started doing headstands about 6 months ago. The sad thing is I’ve probably had the functional core strength for most of that time, but because I let my ego get in the way and didn’t want to be embarrassed I wouldn’t even try them, (also I’m a wimp and I was a very scared of hurting myself). I see a lot of that in yoga classes.
But once you start to practice a hard pose regularly you will see results! Even if it ‘s just for 5 minutes every evening your body does eventually follow suit.
How to Do a Head Stand
Below I have broken down headstand (the way that I have learned it, I’m sure other teachers have different just as effective methods!)
- Begin in a traditional downward dog, and then come down onto your elbows so your hips are still high in the air.
- Bring the top of your head down onto the floor and interlace your fingers together, palms are toward your head.
- Now move your head towards your hands, the back of your head is basically pushed into your hands almost like a little net.
- Bring your elbows in, they should be in your peripheral view.
- Keep you hips lifted and come up onto your tippy toes, walk your feet as close to your body as you can.
- Now lift one foot into the air, and keep that foot flexed.
- Keeping your core engaged slowly lift up your other foot from the ground, try to keep both feet together and flexed.
- Woohoo maybe you’ve done it! Or maybe not, even just try getting one foot off the ground is great, you can always progress.
This was the best picture I could find, but I think it’s definitely easier to lift one leg at a time.
Don’t be afraid of falling!! That was the hardest part for me, but after I fell a few (dozen) times you realize that it doesn’t hurt, and it’s actually kind of fun. Plus if you have kids they will love to practice with you.
I would recommend not using a wall, lots of people begin this way but it actually just slows down your progress because your not engaging your core as much as you without the wall.
Don’t kick your legs up! This is just using momentum and you will more likely just roll right over, slowly lift one leg at a time.
Any comments of questions, I’d love to hear them!