Mastering a new skill is a great way to kill time in lockdown.
A good option which both increases flexibility and upper body strength is learning a new yoga pose, such as a headstand.
Not only is a headstand visually impressive but it also helps you engage your core – something that is really important after a long day of being slumped over a desk.
Chatty Dobson, yoga teacher and owner of FLEX Chelsea, has put together a step by step guide of how to master a headstand at home.
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘When you’re in a headstand the weight isn’t in your head at all, so don’t worry about crushing your neck. Focus on building strength in your shoulders and core.’
Chatty has made an easy tutorial for those learning at home.
In the video, she outlines some headstand strength drills, which will help you build up to one on your own, and advises taking two rounds of each with a child’s pose between each round.
Here’s how to do them:
1. Protraction and retraction of shoulders
- ‘Bring yourself to all fours.
- ‘Keeping the core strong, spine straight, push the floor away with the hands feeling the shoulder blades draw apart, on the inhale drop the chest between the arms drawing the shoulder blades together behind your back.
- ‘Repeat 10 times.’
2. Forearm plank with triangle arms
Chatty explains this arm position forms the base of your headstand, so it’s important to get used to it. She adds:
- ‘Bring the elbows to the mat beneath the shoulders. Catch hold of opposite elbows with the hands to check their positioning, then bring the hands together at the top of your mat, interlace the fingers and form a fist.
- ‘Take a forearm plank position – push out through the heels, tuck the tailbone, engage the glutes and core, dome up through the shoulders as with the protraction in the previous exercise. Back of the neck is long.
- ‘Hold for 10 breaths.’
3. Forearm plank to dolphin
- ‘Bring yourself back to your forearm plank (same arm position as before).
- ‘On the inhale walk your toes towards your elbows, on the exhale walk them back out again.
- ‘Repeat 5 times.’
4. Dolphin push ups
- ‘Bring yourself to forearm plank (arms as before), walk your toes as close to your elbows as possible.
- ‘Head is still lifted, gaze to the floor between the forearms.
- ‘Inhaling, take the head to the fist (nose to fist), exhale the hips high and back. Repeat 5 times.’
5. Headstand itself
Chatty says to bring your forearms to the mat into the triangle – the position you’re now familiar with. Then do the following:
- ‘The crown of the head comes to the mat, with the back of the head cupped in the triangle of the fist and wrists.
- ‘Tuck your toes, lift the knees, walk the toes towards the elbows, and get used to being upside down.
- ‘Once you’re happy there, draw one knee into the chest. You can rock and roll on the ball/toes of the grounded foot, bringing the hips higher over the shoulders – where they will eventually be.
- ‘Come down to child’s pose to give the shoulders a rest, then repeat on the other side.
- ‘When you’re comfortable with one knee in the chest, bring the other in too, so you’re a little ball balancing on your head and forearms.
- ‘Slowly but surely, engaging the core, push the forearms down into the mat and reach the shoulders up to the sky (down the back). You can take the knees higher to the sky and eventually extend the legs long, toes to the sky.
- ‘The more you reach up with the toes, the more your energy is sent skywards, the less you’ll dump into your shoulders, forearms and head.
- ‘Once you’re up, point the toes, engage the glutes, tuck the tailbone, shoulders drawing up to the sky, wobble around and enjoy it.’
Chatty adds that you can use a wall to get used to being upside down.
As you get stronger (and braver) you’ll be able to come away from it and do it by yourself.
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