Your yoga practice often reflects your state of mind and inversions are no exception. If you’re feeling a little off balance in your day to day life, chances are you’ll find inversions and arm balances more difficult. Inversions and arm balances can actually be a good barometer of your stress levels – if you normally nail crow but all of a sudden you feel wobbly, take a step back and see if there are other factors that are off the mat that could be affecting your balance.
For those days when a headstand just ain’t right, here are some other, easier inversions to close your practice with.
Downward Facing Dog
Yep – it’s an inversion! Keeping your head below your heart means that blood flows to your head and upper body. Downward Facing Dog is a great way to invert while feeling secure when you’re a little off balance.
Begin by lifting your legs over your head into Hal Asana (plough pose) – then, supporting your lower back with your hands, lift your legs into a straight line about your head. Keep your chin tucked into your chest for this relaxed inversion and make a point of coming down slowly once you’re done, using your hands as brakes.
Super simple, with all the benefits of a full headstand. Interlace your fingers at the back of your head on the mat and walk your feet towards you until your hips are over your head. No need to tip over into a headstand here – keeping your feet on the ground will give you the full effect if an inversion!
Half Handstand up the wall
Place your hands on the floor at shoulders width apart and slowly walk your legs up the wall behind you until you are as close to an L shape as you can be. This is a great way to get used to having weight on your hands without the need for precise balance,
The preparation for a full tripod headstand, this egg shape is a great inversion all on its own. Line up your head and hands on the mat in a triangle, keeping your arms at right angles and squeezing your elbows inwards (rather than letting them sold outwards). Then, walk your feet towards your head, tuck your knees on top of your upper arms and hang around in this egg shape for as long as you like.
Legs up the wall
Possible the best/simplest inversion ever? You can do this anywhere (provided you’re ok with a few weird looks at the gym). Lie down next to a wall, get as close as possible and stretch your legs up the wall. A great hamstring stretch and an excellent way to get the blood flowing to your head!