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If the dark days of winter and the dark side of the news have you feeling down, why not shift your perspective?
Inverted yoga poses such as Headstand teach us to breathe and remain level-headed when things get topsy-turvy. Our daring version of Headstand, called Sky Walker, was inspired by the luminous Samuel Hall Currelly Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Please note: This is a pose for seasoned practitioners and those with strong and healthy spines. If you are new to inverted yoga poses, please work with a certified yoga teacher to safely build your Headstand from the ground up.
1.Interlace your fingers and place your elbows shoulder distance apart on your mat.
2.Place the top of your head on the ground between your wrists. Be sure to press down into your forearms to relive some of the pressure on your neck. Come down immediately if you feel any discomfort.
3.Keep your head, neck and shoulders in one line as you curl your toes under, straighten your legs and raise your hips.
4.Walk your feet toward your face until the hips are stacked over your shoulders. Newcomers to Headstand should stop here.
5.If your flexibility allows for it, continue to tip toe forward until your hips slightly overshoot your shoulders and your feet become weightless.
6.Float your legs into Headstand. Please, please, please resist the urge to jump into the pose.
7.If your balance allows for it, split your legs front-to-back, before scissor-switching them a number of times as if you are walking on the sky.
8.Return to the earth and settle into Child’s Pose.
Use Your Head
Headstands are challenging for many reasons and they are not for everyone. Even with perfect alignment, the cervical spine will bear some weight and so Headstand is should not be done by those with neck injuries, degenerative disc disease and other conditions involving the spine. The pose should also be avoided by those with high blood pressure, heart conditions, glaucoma and vertigo. Skip Headstand if you are pregnant or are menstruating. Try Wheels Up Pose instead.
YuMee Chung is a recovering lawyer who teaches yoga in Toronto. She is on the faculty of a number of yoga teacher training programs and leads local and international yoga retreats. Learn more about her at padmani.com