.. upside down
Turn your world upside down. Here even the most simplest of movements can be confusing as we explore the opposite and unfamiliar relationship to gravity, shifting our perspective and neuromuscular awareness, reversing the effects of gravity in the body. The brain is flushed with nourishing blood, the mind clears, the nerves quieten down, and everything seems to become more still, yet awake, offering a graceful invitation to meditation. With practice Headstand becomes as stable as Mountain pose. With Shoulder Stand being more stable to start you can develop more nuanced muscular coordination that adds stability and ease to a variety of other inverted asana including fluid movements into and out of.
The greatest risk in most inversions is the neck. It is very important that students have a clear methodical set up and direction into and out of the asana to minimise risk. Students with cervical spine issues are advised not to practice any asana that further strains their neck.
In headstand, root down with what's on the ground -- head, forearms / hands. The pressing down triggers the lift back up. Pressing down into the forearms or hands, squeezing elbows in broadens the shoulders, activates the lats adding stability. Pressing down into the crown of the head activates the spinal erector and multifidi muscles close to the spine, relieving pressure in the neck, elongating the entire spine and creating a feeling of grounded levity.
On inversions and menstruation "Since no studies or research make a compelling argument to avoid inversions during menstruation, and since menstruation affects each woman differently and can vary from cycle to cycle, I am of the opinion that each woman is responsible for her own decision." - Barbera Benagh
o Generally sequenced as part of the finishing practice.
o Supported Headstand is warming when held and can be practiced earlier on in the class. Downward Facing Dog and Forward Fold are great prep postures whilst Childs Pose is nice after.
o Shoulder stand is excellent for calming the body.
o Inversions are excellent preparation for meditation.