Half shoulder stand at the Wall

This posture is a variation of viparita karani (see "Half shoulder stand: Viparita karani" later in this section) and is perhaps the easiest way to pick up the half shoulder stand in a step-by-step fashion. The wall provides support as you build experience with the shoulder stand exercises.

Here's how you do it:

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, your toes just touching the base of a sturdy wall, and your arms extended along the sides of your torso with your palms down.

2. Place your soles up on the wall so that your bent knees form a right angle (with your thighs parallel to each other and your shins perpendicular to the wall) as in Figure 10-5a.

You may need to slide your buttocks closer to or farther away from the wall to get the angle just right.

3. As you inhale, press down with your hands, push your feet to the wall, and lift your hips as high as you comfortably can as Figure 10-5b shows.

4. Bend your elbows and bring your hands to your lower back.

Press your elbows and the backs of your upper arms on the floor for support. Relax your neck (see Figure 10-5c).

Figure 10-5:

Using the wall gives you support and variety.

Figure 10-5:

Using the wall gives you support and variety.

5. As you exhale, take one foot off the wall and extend that leg until you're looking straight up at the tip of your big toe as illustrated in Figure 10-5d.

You can use just one leg at a time and switch or raise both legs together. If you alternate legs, divide the time evenly between each leg.

6. Stay in Step 4 or 5 for as long as you feel comfortable or up to 5 minutes; use the Yoga breathing techniques we recommend in Chapter 5.

When you want to come back down, slowly place one foot and then the other on the wall and finally lower your pelvis slowly to the floor.

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