After last week’s Dreaded Pose post, I knew I wanted to follow-up this week with my Choice Pose; that pose I always love to come into at some point during my practice. After much contemplation, I considered so many wonderful poses. I suppose for those who love yoga it can be hard to even have one favored pose. Yet, it came to me last night while attending a yoga class with one of my most inspirational teachers, Cat. Without a doubt, my choice pose is Headstand (Sirsasana in sanskirt).
Simply put, I truly love to be upside down. I love the challenge this pose provides and the calm that comes to me during it. Ideally, headstand comes at the end of my practice, allowing me to close my eyes and just be.
While intimidating at first, I believe if you are able to surrender to the pose, the sensation is actually quite addicting. Headstand, like any inversion, reverses your orientation and circulation pushing everything towards your head versus your feet as is typical. It is said inverted postures can improve health, reduce stress, and increase concentration; three attributes I can always use more of. On a personal level once I was able to come into headstand on my own, my self-confidence increased and noticeably brought me deeper into my practice as I was encouraged to try additional inversions and become creative with the posture.
When beginning headstand it is often beneficial to have an experienced teacher present to guide your form, given that this pose is typically part of an intermediate to more advanced practice. As a word of caution, anyone who has a back injury, heart condition, low/high blood pressure, or severe headache should consult with their doctor or an experienced yoga teacher before attempting this pose for the first time.
If you are looking for ideas and suggestions for poses and stretches that can help you come into your “choice pose” more easily, please let me know.
~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~
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Don’t know exact name, maybe not even an “official” pose. Forward bend, legs wide apart, arms hang loosely as you hold your elbows. I love the sense of release in this pose, like every vertebrae is saying thank you. I can’t help but sigh deeply.
Thanks for your comment Deanna! When your feet are shoulder-width apart this pose is called “Standing Forward Bend”; often those who feel stable in this pose will deepen the pose by grabbing their elbows and then sway back and forth. A great pose to focus on your breath, always a plus in my opinion!! When your feet are very far apart and have about 3-4 feet between them the pose is called “Wide-Legged Forward Bend”; which coincidentally is one of my favorite ways to come into Sirsasana II/Tripod Headstand 🙂
My favorite pose is pigeon for my tight hamstrings
Ah often a favorite pose for runners, pigeon helps to open your hips and increase your range of motion, which in turn will allow for a longer stride. For tight hamstrings you might want to follow pigeon with an “Upright Seated Hamstring Stretch”…
Thanks for this post – you’re so right in underlining the benefits of headstand. It’s well worth the effort learning it. Teachers in India always told me that head- and shoulderstand are the king and queen of asanas and that if you don’t have time and can only practice one or two postures these should be the ones. All the blood flowing back towards the head, the lymph drainage in shoulderstand…aaah 🙂 A practice without just doesn’t feel like it’s complete.
Yes I have been told that as well – headstand being the “King” asana as it provides focus on desired “masculine” attributes like will power and mind clarity, while the “Queen” asana or shoulder stand focuses on “feminine” attributes such as patience. And yes, despite what I have done in my previous practice, I just don’t feel completed until I end upside down 🙂
I don’t know if I can chose just one favorite but one of my favorites is standing half bow pose. I love how it stretches my shoulder, back and leg and challenges my balance all at once!
Definitely a favorite of mine Amy, Standing Bow is an awesome pose to both accomplish and feel! I love that the pose is actually comprised of the pressure you put into your hand where you grab your ankle, creating the deep stretch in shoulder and thigh. I have to admit though, my favorite pose of yours Amy is peacock!!
I love headstand, and will try to do it when I feel tired but still have to keep going during the day. My husband loves pigeon, and leaves class disappointed when the teacher doesn’t choose it; and so I told him to do it anyways, when class is done, if it helps him so much.
But my current favorite pose is firefly. I can’t bend down with legs stretched in opposite directins and resist going into it! What is even funnier is, three months ago I had another pose as my favorite, but now I don’t even remember which one it was, haha. Gotta love yoga!!!
That is a great point, what may be your favorite today can easily be replaced tomorrow….