Morning everyone! The weather here in DC is simply gorgeous – sunny, cool in the mornings, comfortably warm in the afternoons. The windows are thrown open and I’m trying to avoid the Athleta website like the plague so I won’t purchase big fluffy (expensive) sweater dresses. 🙂
Days like this make me want to play, and, in yoga, playing for me usually equals upside down. Before we get fancy with our inversions it’s nice to work on the prep poses. These are also great for folks who want to work on inversions but can’t put much weight on their heads (but don’t feel like trying the chair headstand yet).
Inversions take strength (among other things) and the best way I’ve found to get ready for bearing weight on your arms is dolphin – or forearm plank to forearm downward dog and back again. I do this in front of the tv (not particularly yogic but it gets the job done). Note: I offer forearm downward dog as an alternative to downward dog in class when I have students with wrist pain or fatigue – it seems to work well.
Start in a downward dog on the forearms. Press down into the mat with your forearms to raise the shoulders up and away from the ears. Then slowly move down into a plank shape on the forearms – you may have to shimmy your feet back. Hold for a breath or two and then slowly move back into a forearm dog. Repeat.
Once you’ve had enough of that that, you can practice walking the feet into the body to position your torso as close to 90 degrees as possible for headstand prep. You’ll want to continue to press down into the forearms to lift up out of the shoulders. Note: bend your knees if your hamstrings start scream at you as you walk your feet in. My head does reach the floor here (short arms club) but there is barely any weight on it.
Say this is uncomfortable or you want a little more guidance on where your torso/back should be in headstand prep. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to move to the wall with a bolster in tow. Place the bolster up against the wall and then set up so that when you walk your feet in, your back will come to rest on the bolster. Your arms will be around the bolster and a forearm stand position will probably more comfortable than a headstand position.
Have fun and please let me know if you have any questions!!