These shoulder stands go from easiest to toughest. Each of these three shoulder stands provides common benefits: improved circulation to your legs, hips, back, neck, heart, and head. The postures all stimulate your endocrine glands and improve your lymphatic drainage, enhance elimination, and produce a calming and rejuvenating effect on your nervous system. The wall provides a useful prop for the easier two variations; when you're ready, you can then advance with confidence to viparita karani, the half shoulder stand.
Due to the neck's vulnerability, we recommend that you precede these postures with a dynamic (or moving) bridge posture (see Chapter 15) to prepare the neck and follow it with a short rest and then a dynamic cobra posture (see Chapter 11) to compensate.
(UNG/ Don't attempt any of these postures if you're pregnant; have high blood pressure or a hiatal hernia; are overweight, even moderately so; have glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or neck problems; or are in the first few days of your period. Also, don't use a mirrored wall, because you can injure yourself if you fall.
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