94/100 ~ Supported Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana) – I see it time and time again – the look of fear and uncertainty on my student’s faces when I demonstrate a pose that they assume is not accessible to them. And then, the look of joy and amusement when they pop right into it. This is one of those poses! Read about the benefits and practice it for yourself. You might be surprised!

Benefits: This inversion pose calms the nervous system and relieves symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. It improves circulation in the legs, pelvis and abdomen; reduces varicose veins; and improves digestion and insomnia. The support of the block helps to stabilize the low back and pelvis, and lifting the legs builds strength in the core.

How to: Rest on your back with the knees bent and feet on the floor. Press into the feet to lift your hips off the floor, and slide a block underneath yourself to support the low back. Pause here, resting in supported bridge pose. Tuck the shoulder blades down and under, and draw the chin to chest. As you feel ready, draw the knees up and then lift your feet upward to straighten the legs. If you need to adjust the block, bring your feet back to the floor. Lift the hips, adjust the block and try again. With legs extended, press/lift through the heels and draw the toes toward your face. Hold this pose for 3-10 breath cycles, and then lower back to supported bridge. Press into the feet, lift the hips and remove the block. Lower onto your back and rest here, taking a moment to appreciate the sensations in your body.

Mantra: “Love lifts me up where I belong.”

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