I was blessed to take four wonderful classes in the last two days - the first from my amazing teacher, Eileen, the other three I took today at the Iyengar Yoga Studio in NYC (I am writing this on the train home).
So here are some tips from the experts:
- reach the legs off of the hips - think of lifting the legs up to the ceiling to take some of the weight off of the arms and head
- when first learning to kick up into headstand, do not let your buttocks hit the wall - that impact could cause you to damage your neck. Practice first with Eka Pasa Sirsasana (plant the head and forearms on the floor and raise one leg then plant it on the floor. Repeat. Practice this for some time before learning to kick up.)
- extend the index fingers to access and lift the upper arms up to the ceiling
- if your arms often roll out on headstand, tighten the forearm skin prior to kicking up. Here is how: drop the elbows to the mat and extend the forearms forward while contacting the mat with the elbows only, extending the skin of the forearm.
- after you have been working with shoulder stand for some time, try to do the pose with the hands on the shoulder blades - bringing the thoracic spine in to broaden the chest