Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)
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 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.
This months prop is not a prop people think to use often. The wall is my favorite prop in yoga and can used for a variety of things, but a doorframe is a magically prop to getting ourselves prepped for handstands. In my demo today, I will not go into the full expression of handstand due to an injury at the time of photographing this.
Some awesome prep poses to warm the body up before performing this handstand prep include: childs pose, cat-cow, downward facing dog, plank pose, warrior III and standing splits. To begin, come into a narrow downward facing dog with your hands on either side of the door frame.
Begin to tuck your chin and round your shoulder blades till they become flush against the door frame.
Lift one leg up onto the door frame at about hip height.
As you push through the foot and begin to lift the other to meet, slowly roll your spine against the door frame. The intention with using the doorframe is to teach our spine to stand straight and not compensate our balance by arching our backs and dumping into that low back.
If you feel confident here and can leave your back flush to the wall, begin to lift on leg at a time and wrapping it around the doorframe, similar to your hands. Practicing these wall L stands with the door frame and getting it with the back flush will train the body to do this as you practice those handstands against the wall.
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.