The ancient practice of yoga has become the exercise du jour these days, especially during the pandemic everyone has turned to age old remedies and practices to cultivate immunity and a healthy lifestyle. Everyone from A-list celebs to you and us are getting onto the yoga bandwagon — and for good reason. Practicing yoga has serious health benefits beyond flexibility and balance. Studies have indicated that yoga helps in combatting stress and certain illnesses too!
Fluid yoga flows and poses look lovely on Instagram too! But are you all familiar with the Trikonasana and the Uttana Shishosana? We guess not!
To help everyone from yoga newbies to experienced practitioners, we have Melanie Gordon, a certified yoga instructor, to help put together a definitive guide to yoga poses – a sort of a cheat sheet to mastering the common poses you’re likely to encounter in most classes.
Shoulder Stand – Sarvangasana
The posture Sarva-Anga means “a beneficial pose for the whole body” this is how important shoulder stand is to add to your routine. The inverted asana is a fantastic way to send fresh blood to the brain quicker and is best practiced once the body is warmed up towards the end of a yoga lesson.
The shoulder stand is an effective and straightforward inversion beginning with laying on the yoga mat and bringing the feet up to a 90-degree angle. It may be wise if you are a beginner to start to practice this pose first of all on a bed or a carpet to take the strain out of the neck until you are used to the asana. Once comfortable, bring the abdominal muscles into play by firming the core to push the legs into a vertical position. The arms need to be the foundation of this pose. So bring the hands just under the hips with the palms holding into the lower back for support. The neck and shoulders should feel reasonably relaxed as their legs become outstretched and the toes are towards the ceiling. The gaze should be directed at the toes. The balancing effect of the blood going away from the feet can be felt immediately as you are now giving the veins and arteries of the legs a well-deserved break. If you can, stay here for 20 to 30 breaths to enjoy the posture and then slowly bend the knees to the forehead, rolling down. Combine this pose with the awareness of chakras, especially the solar plexus and throat. Shoulder stand should not be attempted by anyone in the late stages of pregnancy or anyone with neck injuries or head trauma.
Once you make the shoulder stand part of your practice, it can help regulate the thyroid, help asthma and intestinal disorders. The balancing effect can be felt throughout the body and let yoga soothe the fight and flight responses dealing with stress in a more productive way, which can be invaluable.