SHOULDER STAND

HOW TO PERFORM

• Relax the entire body and mind while lying flat on the back. Checking that the head and spine are aligned with the legs and feet together in a straight line, place the hands and arms close to the body with the palms facing down.

• Inhale, contract the abdominal muscles and, with the support of the arms, slowly raise the legs to the vertical position, keeping them straight.

• Press the arms and hands down on the floor, slowly and smoothly rolling the hips and spine off the floor and raising the torso to a vertical position, with the legs coming over the head.

• Turn palms upward, bend the elbows, and place the hands behind the ribcage, slightly away from the spine, supporting the back with elbows shoulder-width apart.

• Straighten the legs to a vertical position and gently push the chest forward so that it presses firmly against the chin.

• Practise slow, deep, abdominal breathing. Close the eyes, relax the whole body, and hold for as long as comfortable, gradually working up to holding the posture for 3 minutes.

• To return to the starting position, keep legs straight and exhale while releasing them above and over the head. Slowly place the hands on the floor with palms facing down to gradually roll the body back down onto the floor.

• Either Matsyasana (Fish Pose) Ushtrasana (Camel Pose) or Supta Vajrasana (Reclining Hero Pose) should be practised as a counter Pose.