This version of salamba sarvangasana, or supported shoulder stand, is accessible to every body. Lying on 2 bolsters with a strap to support your legs in a neutral position, allow yourself to slide the shoulders firmly onto your mat for a wide-open chest without any strain on the neck or effort to hold yourself up in this gentle inversion.
Ready to work it?
Here are some classes featuring Supported Shoulderstand.
Shoulder-stand has the potential to create a relaxed and resilient mind when you can stay in this pose with enough ease and enough time to truly reap its benefits. If you are not super familiar with how to set it up - well, jump to the 26-minute mark to understand the setup, entry and exit so that you can fully enjoy the pose. Note the modifications that can support you in finding a place of ease if this is new. We spend the first 26 minutes preparing the body and mind to feel focused and supple. From this place, we invite calm into the body and imagine we can share this calm and spaciousness as we move through our lives.
Chair shoulderstands can be really soothing for the nervous system. Getting into them, not so much! Instead of slithering to the ground head first like it's no big deal, we do a lot of prep work right side up. We warm up the body and get centered (read: core work!) first. Then, step by step, we gather ourselves into the chair and gracefully find our way into the support of the chair, the comfort of the wall, and land on blankets to support the shoulders... staying center and grounded so that the pose feels like a soft place to land and a sweet spot to rest. Then you will be gently guided into releasing the pose and resting on solid ground with a new perspective and a quiet mind.
Remember where you come from people, you are a vessel for DIVINE LIGHT!An intricately woven texture of movement guided by breath to connect you back with your radiant source. Don't be scared, we gonna get a lil' witchy with this one, drawing pentacle shields in space and such for protection. Shapeshift from Eagle into One-legged Crow, and check in with Ashtavakrasana. Keep radiating that divine light lovers.
Shoulder stand is a great pose to invoke deep relaxation - IF you have the flexibility to get into it AND the strength to sustain it for (at least) several minutes. When you do it using the support of a chair, you can stay longer with more ease. It's especially great for tight shoulders and tender necks because your body weight shifts out of the neck/shoulders and into the support of the chair. If this is new, make sure you preview getting in and getting out of the shoulder stand so you know how to move safely to take care of your neck! Over time, this practice will strengthen and open your shoulder girdle and give your more internal support for all inversions.
Inversions can feel intimidating, but they don't need to be. It's all about taking things slowly and letting yourself feel the connections in the poses you CAN do in order to start moving into poses that have previously seemed unattainable. This practice will teach you some of the basics of going upside down, and help you build confidence to start feeling more comfortable with your head on the ground and your feet in the air. Enjoy!
If we want to learn to swim, there comes a point when we have to wade into slightly deeper waters. And so it is with yoga. Eventually we have to build on what the basics have taught us and move into more challenging territory. This practice is designed to introduce you to some of what lies beyond the basics and give you the tools to wade out with confidence.