To come into Supported Shoulderstand:
- lie down on a comfortable surface like a yoga mat or a blanket
- bend your knees so your heels are close to your bottom
- lift your hips up and slide your block (or tightly rolled blanket) under your lower back (roughly where your back ends and your bottom begins!)
- send your legs directly up
- relax the head, relax the shoulders, and allow the lower back to to melt and rest itself upon the block
(for even less effort, rest your legs against a wall)
Here are 3 times that I like to use this yoga pose, either at home or whilst teaching.
1. At home - sometimes do this for a few minutes before bed. This is especially nice if the day has involved a lot of racing around from one thing to the next. Our lower backs have rather a busy time keeping us upright all day. This is a chance to give your lower back permission to be supported.
2. Whilst teaching - in many yoga classes, an inverted posture or two are included. However, not every student will be able to or wanting to do headstands, full shoulderstands, handstands etc. This posture is a great alternative for those students; they will feel cared for and won't feel left out whilst other students practice other inversions.
3. Whilst teaching - I love having the whole class do Supported Shoulderstand near the end of class as we start to wind things down. I find that when the students have already worked quite hard and have been focused, they are very happy to land here, close their eyes for a minutes and just be silent. As a teacher, once everyone is set up comfortably, it's a lovely time to stop talking and let the students enjoy!