Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)
Karma is known for its nomadic tribe take on yoga, but without a studio, we are limited when it comes to teaching our students about the use of props to help get deeper into a posture or make a challenging pose more obtainable. The new Karma Dama blog will show you ways to guide your body into postures you can practice at home.
Props are expensive and before I invested the money in them myself, I got creative and found household items that I could utilize as props, plus it fuels this fun idea of a home practice. Here are some of the things I use:
Block- thick hardcover book, I usually put a rubber band around the book so it doesn’t come open mid-use.
Strap- If you aren’t a tie wearer, a belt also works. I personally prefer a tie because if I need a long strap, I can tie multiple of them together.
Blanket- you don’t need a fancy yoga blanket to utilize a blanket in your practice, your favorite one around your home would do just fine.
Bolster- Bolsters come in many different sizes, luckily so do household pillows, find a pillow (or 5) that you like and can use for a bolster.
Chair- many people may not be familiar with yoga chairs but you can utilize them for inversions and arm balances. Find a sturdy chair in your home and ONLY PRACTICE WITH IT ON CARPET or all chair legs on the mat. No yogis sliding around on tile or wood floors.
Today, Michi will demo for you how to utilize a chair, blanket and bolster to get into a shoulder stand without neck strain. Doing a shoulder stand supported can help you get the feeling of being on your shoulders before putting the weight on your neck. Supported shoulder stand can be a restorative approach to this inversion and add some playfulness in your practice.
Start by placing the blanket on the chair so it covers the edge of the seat and the bolster on the ground in front of the chair.
Next sit backwards on the chair and one leg at a time raise your legs onto the back of the chair, like so…
From here, you want to use your core to slowly lay back till your shoulders touch the bolster.
Next, put your hands through the inside of the front legs and grip onto the back legs. Getting this grip correctly is important so you won’t fall and also rounds your shoulders onto the meaty part that it needed to do a free standing shoulder stand.
Slowly with intention, shift your weight into your shoulders and use your core to slowly lift your legs off the chair, leaving your bottom rooted down on the edge of the seatw.
Make sure you keep length in your neck here.
If you feel comfortable here, you can play with releasing your bottom off the chair, coming into full shoulder stand.
Or my personal favorite, bend your knees coming into dead mans pose or even plow, feel free to get expressive with what you can do in this placement.
Once you have finished playing and are ready to come out of this posture, return your bottom and legs onto the seat and slowly with intention, tuck your chin into your chest and slide your bottom off the chair and onto the bolster.
Go forth and play yogis!
-Namaste, Michi P.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER
This passionate knowledge seeking teacher, started their yoga journey with karma a few years ago and after falling in love with the community of yoga completed their 200hr Teacher Training at Yoga from the Heart. They have been a Dentonite since 2014, graduated from TWU and runs community groups. With their trauma-informed certification, they emphasize trauma healing by sharing healing techniques to take yoga off the mat. Aside from yoga, they enjoy outdoor activities, reading and mix media art.