Shoulder stands can be challenging for all - whether you're a practiced yogi or a newcomer. But we're up for the challenge! This modified shoulder stand will push your yoga practice to the next level and get your blood circulating.

Day 6: Modified Shoulder Stand

The modified shoulder stand and its variations are used in many sports classes. All variations support the venous blood stream and relieve the legs. Make sure that you put a bolster in the right position under your shoulders, and save your neck from a harsh bend.

Notes of Caution: Shoulder stands are not recommended for people who suffer from pain in the cervical vertebrae, high blood pressure, or eye or ear conditions.

What to Do:

  • Place your mat a right angle to a wall. Put a folded blanket on your mat. Lie down on your back with your shoulders at the edge of the folded blanket and your knees bent. Place both your feet hip width apart on the ground. Stretch out your arms at the side of your body. Both palms are facing downward.
  • Exhaling, bring your knees to your chest and stretch your legs.
  • Inhaling, roll your spine upward and lift your hips and torso. To support the lifting, place your hands at the top of your hips. You can either do the complete stretch during one inhalation, or raise legs and torso in a couple of moves, resting during exhalations.
  • To stabilize and simplify the posture, place your feet against a wall. Your lower legs are parallel to the floor.
Modified Shoulder Stand 1 Marta Mlejnek of Martencja Photography

 

  • Keep the position for six complete inhalations and exhalations.
  • To get out of the posture, move your feet downward at the wall while exhaling.
  • Lower your spine vertebra by vertebra. Place your feet on the ground, and put your hands and arms alongside your body.
  • Feel the effects of the inversion. You may close your eyes if you like to do so.

 

Special Variation: Free-standing Shoulder Stand

  • Come into the shoulder stand using a wall as a prop.
  • Inhaling, stretch your right leg.
Modified Shoulder Stand 2 Marta Mlejnek of Martencja Photography

 

  • Exhaling, pause and make sure you are maintaining your stability.
  • Inhaling, stretch your left leg and come into the full posture.
Modified Shoulder Stand 3 Marta Mlejnek of Martencja Photography

 

  • Keep the position for six complete inhalations and exhalations.
  • To get out of the posture: Exhaling, place your feet -- one at a time -- back on the wall. Pause on an inhalation.
  • Exhaling, move your feet downward on the wall.
  • Lower your spine vertebra by vertebra. Place your feet on the ground, and put your hands and arms alongside your body.
  • Feel the effects of the inversion. You may close your eyes if it feels comfortable.

 

About the Book

Yoga XXL: A Journey to Health for Bigger People shows you how to create a safe, enjoyable, and effective yoga practice no matter what your age, size, shape, or physical fitness level. The author, Ingrid Kollak, RN, PhD, is a licensed yoga teacher who knows that everyone can enjoy and benefit from yoga. With this book, you'll have everything you need to bring yoga - and more health and wellness - into your daily life immediately.

 

Yoga XXL