Being upside down can be quite scary if you’ve never done it before. All of a sudden, your senses have to deal with life from a different perspective. “Am I going to break my neck?” and “Are my muscles really ready for this?” were the only thoughts that I could muster as I kicked my legs up over and over, half-way pretending to try a headstand. However, with a few handy tips and a little bit of courage, my world soon turned upside down. And now I can’t get enough! Being inverted brings the benefits of bringing blood to the top of your body, stimulating your lymphatic system, developing your core strength, and flushing out your adrenal system. What’s not to like? Here are some steps for newbies:
1.Face a wall and fold your arms so that each hand is holding an elbow. Place your forearms on the mat about 5 inches away from the wall. Without moving your elbows, interlace your fingers, forming a tripod to support your head. During the headstand, you’ll be pulling your shoulders away from your ears, using your lower deltoids. Most of your body weight will be supported by your arms, not your head.
2.Place your head on the floor between your elbows, stick your butt up in the air and slowly walk your toes forward. Go as far as you can and stay in this position until you feel comfortable with the feeling of holding your body weight on your arms and head.
3.Next, work on folding at the knees and working your knees up to your armpits. The point of working on this slowly, is so that you are able to raise your legs up in a controlled manner. ( instead of wildly flinging your legs around until they are in the right place)
4.Using your hip flexors, raise your legs up until the touch the wall with the balls of your feet and then walk them up, eventually straightening your legs.
5.Engage your core muscles and keep your toes together, holding for as long as you can.
6.Use your arms to balance yourself, not your legs!
7.To come out of the headstand, work backwards. Slowly bend your knees and use your hip flexors to come down in a controlled manner.
Once you’ve finished, counter this pose with balasana, or child’s pose. As you become more comfortable with the feeling of being inverted and as your shoulders begin to strengthen, have someone spot you as you practice away from the wall. Practice these steps slowly and diligently, and you’ll soon be doing headstand all on your own!
(200hr, weekday TTC, September 2017)