Kiana Ng Yoga
There are many benefits to practicing shoulder stand. Some of them include: throat chakra stimulation, strengthening of the circulatory, heart and respiratory system, soothing of the nervous system, increased strength and flexibility in the body, and the list goes on! Usually it’s practiced near the end of class as it’s a cooling inversion that calms the nervous system down. This pose is also great for activating all of the bandhas. Read below to learn how to safely practice shoulder stand on and off the wall.
On the wall:
- Stack 1-2 blankets on top of your mat against the wall then fold your mat in half so that it’s sandwiching the blankets
- Line up your shoulders on the edge of the mat with your head resting on the floor behind. The appropriate distance from the wall is if you can take your shins parallel to the floor and thighs perpendicular to the floor over top of the hips comfortably
- Press your feet into the wall as you inhale to lift the hips
- Walk your shoulder blades closer together and down your spine. Press your hands and shoulder blades into the mat to lift the chest and torso away from the mat while protecting your C7 (bony part of the spine at the back of the neck)
- Open up through the chest by moving your heart and back ribs forwards
- Lift the pelvis over top of the shoulders. Find mula bandha and uddiyana bandha here.
- Bend at the elbows to place hands as high up on your upper back as you can
- Relax the throat and neck while still engaging jalandhara bandha.
- Option to extend one leg towards the ceiling, stacking it right over the hips and shoulders. Alternate legs or lift both legs off the wall
- Exhale to slowly walk your legs back down the wall, coming to your back
Off the wall:
- Start in Halasana (plough pose)
- Adjust your arms and shoulders as you would with the wall, placing hands on upper back
- Lift one leg up at a time, actively reaching out through feet to lift the torso and thighs up
- Lengthen tailbone towards heels to create length in the spine
- Relaw jaw, throat, tongue and neck
- Exhale to release back in to plough
*NOTE: Use Fish Pose or another soft heart opener to neutralize the spine after shoulder stand.
- Viparita Kirani (Legs Up The Wall)
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
- Halasana (Plough Pose)
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
- Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)
- Instead of facing towards the wall, face away from it with your feet on the wall behind you as if you are in plough pose. Use the wall this way to find supported shoulder stand.
- Sarvangasana: release arms long on to the mat with interlaced fingers
- No blankets under shoulders
- Padma Sarvangasana