Safe means simple and safe means conservative, and a good place to begii to learn the shoulderstand is to squirm your pelvis onto the top of a bolste draw the knees toward the chest, and simply lift the feet into the ai straightening the knees so that the thighs and legs end up perpendicul; to the floor. Once you get your pelvis in position, you do not even need t use your arms to help you get your feet up. Those who are more advei luresome can try supporting the pelvis on the edge of a couch, positionir the torso at a 30-45° angle from the floor depending on the height of tl support and length of the torso. These postures provide excellent trainir for the full inverted action pose and for the postures in the shoulderstai series because the hips are higher than the shoulders, the neck is slight flexed, the lower extremities are perpendicular to the floor, and the postu is supported passively by a prop.
If your balance is good, you can also support yourself with an 8 1/2 ini playground ball (chapter 5), or better yet, a bigger one 10-13 inches diameter. Placing a supporting bolster or ball at different sites creat different effects. If the support is placed under the lower part of I sacrum and coccyx, the back will be rounded to the rear and mos •' against the floor; if it is placed under the upper part of the sacrum, t pelvis will be raised higher and the back will be straighter; if it is plac 1 under L4-L5, the back will be straight; and if it is under the junct 1 of the lumbar and thoracic regions, the lumbar region will be arch 1 forward in the other direction and the pelvis will drop, creating a passi backbend (chapter 6). This last position places an unusual stress in t ' lumbar region and is contraindicated for anyone with a tender back. Wi 1 this exception, students can be fairly relaxed in all of these variatio s except for the effort needed to keep the knees extended.
An even more passive inverted action posture involves flattening t e thighs and legs against a wall with the pelvis again supported on a bolsl r or hall. You do not have to use much effort to keep the knees straight, ai 1 you can combine the posture with a passive adductor stretch by letting t ' thighs rest in an abducted position.
9- 77IF. SHOl 7nERSTAKU 505
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