20 Feb Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
This is Shriram in Shoulderstand. He is one of my very sincere yoga students, and a very likable Sri Sri yoga teacher. Though being extremely flexible is not his goal, but he is like rubber. You can bend and twist him in any way and as much as you like but he will not lose his smile:).
He has written a very nice and detailed article on Shoulderstand which you can read on https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=351760952754
Shouldstand is one of my favorite postures. It turns your whole world upside down….in a good way. The legs and feet get to experience freedom and relief from carrying body weight, and the head that is always up in the air, gets to experience grounding, and acceptance of responsibility in a joyful manner.
Shoulderstand, in addition to providing so may benefits on the physical level, brings rest to the wandering mind. It is very calming and soothing . It reduces mental conflicts, anxiety, confusion, worries and fears. It brings relief from insomnia.
Staying in Shoulderstand even for a few seconds is very beneficial, but in order to experience its full benefits you would need to stay in the posture for 2-5 minutes.
It is important that you learn to practice Shoulderstand in the presence of a yoga teacher or an experienced yoga student who can observe and correct your alignment properly. Like any other fitness exercises, if Shoulderstand practiced incorrectly for any prolonged period of time, it can have severe effects on your neck and spine. And when practiced correctly, it provides tremendous benefits to all levels of your being.
While in Shoulderstand, the two important things to consider are 1) that your neck is relaxed and 2) both shoulders carry equal body weight.
In order to relax your neck, press your both hands firmly onto your back , and press both arms and shoulders onto the floor. Think of carrying all your weight on the shoulders. Use the strength of your legs to pull and straighten yourself up.
To check the balance, observe if both arms and shoulders are pressing down equally onto the floor. You should have the same feeling in both arms and shoulders. If one side feels to be pressing down more, that is the side carrying more weight. Balance the weight by pressing down the other side equally. Keep both elbows close to the body.
In the photographs above, Shriram is pointing the toes upwards. You can practice sometimes this way, and sometimes with the toes flexed towards you. In either position, you should have the same feeling in both legs and feet.
If for some reason you are not able to do Shoulderstand, you can just raise your legs up on a wall as shown here. To come in this position, sit with your one side against a wall. Lie down and turn simultaneously and raise your legs up on the wall, keeping the hips close to the wall.
This position is also very relaxing and provides many benefits of Soulderstand. Stay in this position for 2-5 minutes, and let go totally with a feeling of meditating.
Make a point of practicing Shoulderstand every day.
It’s good for you!
Happy Shivaratri! May Lord Shiva bless us with contentment, an essential virtue needed to walk on the path of Yoga.
Below is a photograph a friend of mine sent me…..two friends in a rare expression of contentment.