Learn to Be a Bat in Yoga

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Teaching Tips, Yoga Practice Tips | 0 comments

Learn to Be a Bat in Yoga

Supported Shoulder Stand- Sarvangasana is a Longevity Key

During the changing seasons, there is one yoga pose that purifies the mind/body and supports a change in perspective—Sarvangasana, shoulder stand. For those students who have mastered some version of shoulder stand and or headstand as a part of their home practice, this statement makes perfect sense. If you are a student who is still hoping to make friends with shoulder stand, the approach I offer here may help.

Throughout my years of teaching I have successfully introduced students with a wide variety of physical conditions to the following version of shoulder stand. Whether you lack confidence in your ability to hold yourself up without falling, have a neck fusion, an autoimmune challenge such as Multiple Sclerosis, are recovering from an illness, or simply need support to balance an overly stressful day, this pose can work for you. For more guidance watch my video or contact me for an individual session in person or online.

 

Benefits

Sarvangasana is called “the mother” of all asana. This one pose alone promises to balance all glandular functions, improve circulation, lower blood pressure*, release endorphins, improve mood, balance thyroid function, reduce histamine responses, and restore immunity, just to name a few. Contraindications include high blood pressure, glaucoma, disc herniations in the neck or lower back, and vertigo. Please to consult with a knowledgeable yoga instructor before embarking on the practice of shoulder stand or other inversions.

Set up

You will need two folding chairs or chairs without arms, a firm bolster or a stack of two to three folded blankets to create a bolster, a sticky mat under the chairs to keep everything in place, and one more blanket or second mat to pad the seat of the chair.How to set up with a chair

 Approach

Sit sideways in the chair, turn and place your knees over the chair back. Slide your buttocks into the center of the seat. Holding the chair back with your knees, begin to tip back towards the floor, walking your hands down the front legs of the chair. Do not place your hands on the floor, as this will encourage the chair to tip. Place your elbows on the Finding Neutral in supported Sarvangasanabolster, then your shoulders. The back of your head should rest on the floor. Slip your hands under the chair seat and take hold of the back legs, and then place your feet on the top of the chair back. Take a moment to adjust your position.

 Actions 

Roll your shoulders back; turn the upper arms out and under to support your chest. Place your hips evenly in the chair. Pause here to deepen and relax your breath, providing time for your body to regulate the flow of blood from your head and chest bac3-supported-shoulder-stand-in-a-chairk toward your feet. Once the pressure in your head has diminished, extend your legs up toward the ceiling and puff your chest. Bring your feet and legs into Tadasana, mountain pose. Extend from the back of your knees in two directions, up and down to create support for your chest to open while lifting your chest towards your chin. Soften your belly and throat. Deepen your breath and let go of any mental attachments that take you away from the present moment.

 Timing

I recommend building up to hold this position for a minimum of 7 minutes. If this feels too rigorous, try holding for 3 minutes, and then slowly take your feet over your head and into Halasana, plough pose, with your feet on the second chair for 3 minutes. Or simply bend your knees, place the feet on the chair back. As you build up stamina, try setting a timer for longer holds of 7, 10, or 20 minutes.

Halasana Plough Pose with 2 chairs

Body Trivia

Did you know that it takes three minutes for an individual blood cell to travel thru every vessel in the body? This implies that remaining inverted for three minutes or more will allow shoulder stand to deliver its magic, Ie; flush, purify and restore all glandular and organ functions.

 How to End

When it is time to come out of the pose, simply slide yourself down off the chair, rest with your hips on the bolster and your legs in the seat of the chair. Stay in this position for another 3 – 5 minutes to let all of the magic settle in. You may find it is the best moment of relaxation of the day!

Please ask any of the knowledgeable instructors who are graduates of Lillah’s Transformation Yoga Trainings to help you learn this wonderful supportive version of Sarvangasana. Blessed Practice and Namaste, Lillah Schwartz

For more yoga pose information please peruse Lillah’s book, “Transform Your Life with Yoga: Home Practice Guide”, or her newly released “Healing Our Backs with Yoga: an essential guide to back pain relief” found in our online store.

 

 

 

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