Lessons from the Field: Keep Your Head Down

by Barrie Risman

One thing I’ve learned about practicing during stressful or chaotic times: it helps to keep your head down and go upside down regularly. Calming and soothing for the nervous system, forward bends turns our attention inside and help bring us back to our steady, peaceful centre.

When the head is resting on a support these postures can be held for several minutes and are particularly restorative in nature. Inversions turn us upside down, helping us to regain a sense of clarity, balance and renewed resolve. Here is a 20-minute sequence for restoring serenity:

Props needed: 2 blocks, blankets, chair (optional)

  • Balasana – Child’s pose with forehead resting on floor, folded arms or a block
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward-facing dog with forehead resting on blankets
  • Uttanasana  – Standing forward bend with crown of the head resting on stacked blocks.
  • Sirsasana 1 – Headstand. Practice against a wall or the supported version here.
  • Sarvangasana – Supported Shoulderstand with or without chair support. Supported version with chair here.
  • Janu Sirsasana – Head-on-Knee Pose with the forehead resting on folded blankets/chair if needed.
  • Paschimottansana – Seated Forward Bend with forehead resting on support as needed.

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