First, ABOUT INVERSION IN YOGA
Long story short, Inversion is when the hip is higher than the head. We already do an inversion in some basic Yoga poses such as Down Dog, Standing Forward Bend, etc.
In the Inversion in Yoga that I'm going to talk about (and prop up), except for Halasana or Plow Pose that I will introduce right now, the others are all inversion and balance. Inversion and balance are two separate skills, which means just like any other skills, each person has their own capacity. Also just like any other skills, we can train and get better at these skills.
When we go upside down, we need to focus and pay more attention to body awareness. Upside down together with balance make the Yoga pose even more challenging. When we invert, we lose a sense of direction. It's very hard to identify up, down, left, right. Therefore Inversion in Yoga is an excellent chance to practice concentration, calmness, and awareness.
The first inversion Yoga pose I want to introduce is Halasana - Plow Pose. This is an inversion without balance skill. At the end of the post is a list of other Inversions with Balance.
HALASANA - PLOW POSE
Some people can just roll themselves into a Plow Pose, however, this pose actually stretch deeply the backside of our body, especially at the neck and upper back. To people who are stiff on the backside, this pose is a lot of tension there.
When I do Plow Pose, I feel so much tension on my upper back, especially when I inhale deeply. My back tends to be rounded in Plow Pose, and the best support for the pose is a folded blanket padding underneath the shoulder to support and elevate. From here, my back gets more space and can rise straighter.
Many people choose to always support their shoulders in both Plow Pose and Shoulder Stand. Without the blanket, we risk pressing through the neck bones (cervical spine) to the floor, which is painful and not healthy. It's hard to hold the pose in pain, and moreover, we risk having wear and tear injury. The blanket helps us gain space for our neck and put our body weight right on the shoulder and not on the neck.
You can choose to clasp your hands or press your hands to the floor, but mind yourself that the action of the shoulder is to extend by pressing to the floor and squeeze the shoulder blades to each other (retraction).
Or you can bend your elbows and use your hands to hold your body in the pose. Use your hands to push your hips so that you can keep the hands on your back. The pushing action helps stretch upper back muscles. Now that you are bending the elbows, remind yourself to hug your elbows towards each other. In the photo, I'm doing an easy variation of Plow Pose with the knees bent. The knees can rest on my forehead or touch my ears.
When your knees feel quite close to the floor, you can find the floor with your feet. The next step is to slowly straighten your knees.
One way to do Plow Pose with your knee straights is to put your feet on blocks. It would be easier for you if someone can put the blocks for you. As a Yoga teacher, you can help people put blocks under their feet.
If you feel like you can put your feet lower to the floor, just kick the blocks away (haha).
One more way to prop it up, use the wall to put your feet on and walk down on the wall. In this case, you need to estimate the space between your head and the wall so that you can put your feet on the wall and extend your knees. In the photo, I'm a bit too close to the wall but by pushing my feet into the wall I still feel a good stretch in my hamstrings.
Thank you for reading! More about how to Prop Up Inversions in Yoga:
About Inversion in Yoga - Halasana: Plow Pose
Shoulder Stand - Salamba Sarvanganasana
Handstand in Yoga - Adho Mukha Vrkasana
Sirsasana - Tripod Headstand
Sirsasana - ¨Traditional¨ Headstand
See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:
Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations
Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!
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