This next posture prepares you for both the shoulderstand and the plow. It is relaxing once you get into it but it requires more strength, flexibility, and athletic prowess than the propped postures just described. It is the logical next step for those who are trying to build confidence for doing more advanced inverted postures. Except for the fact that the legs are sticking out, it resembles a ball whose circumference is formed by the head, back, pelvis, thighs, elbows, and arms (fig. 9.2). To begin, lie supine on a padded surface with the top of the head about two feet from a wall, or a little less depending on your stature. Pull the knees toward the chest, place the hands against the floor below the hips, palms down, and in a single movement tighten the abdomen, push strongly against the floor with the hands and elbows, and lift the hips up and the feet overhead, straightening the knees slightly at the same time.
The feet should touch the wall lightly in the final position, and you may now have to adjust your distance from the wall to make that comfortable. The knees, hips, and back are all comfortably flexed. Interlock the fingers lightly at the top of the head, and brace the thighs with the elbows just above the knees, or place your hands against the lower back and pelvis (fig. 9.2). Adjust the posture for maximum comfort and relaxation.
This is a relaxed posture once you get into it, but getting there may be a challenge for those whose spinal and hip flexibility is poor. And another consideration for novices is that even though there is no pressure on the neck, and even though your body weight is so close to the floor that you do not have to worry about falling over, the weight of the lower extremities can compel so much flexion of the hips and spine that it shocks the uninitiated. Once in a while the extra weight on the chest prevents someone from inhaling in this posture, especially if an insensitive coach has lifted them into it. I witnessed that error once in a class of partnered hatha yoga for older but athletic beginners. Fortunately, other classmates were observing and quickly intervened, crying "Stop, stop, she can't breathe!" The opposite problem is a lack of weight from the waist down, as in barrel-chested men with skinny legs. If that is the case, you may want to try coming into the pose wearing heavy shoes or ankle weights in order to pull enough weight
Figure 9.2. This relaxed inverted action posture with the feet against the wall is easy for most people, and the head is freely movable for twisting from side to side, but the pose should still he monitored watchfully in the case of those who are trying it for the first time.
overhead to stabilize the posture. In any event, if you come into the pose but are not confident that you can balance gracefully, just roll down keeping the knees as close to the chest as possible.
Was this article helpful?