Let’s welcome Karel of Yoga with Karel! I first came to know Karel as one of her Tumblr fans. After participating in several challenges that she co-hosted with friends, I decided to reach out to her and I’m so glad that I did! Karel is a sweet soul who will soon start her yoga teacher certification program.
Karel has seven tips to help beginning yogis and yoginis get comfortable with being upside down.
Hello friends! I am Karel. I am at Erica’s beautiful space to share what I have experienced with inversions. Many people have this fear of being upside down and having their feet above their head. I am here to tell you how to get comfortable with being upside down because everything is already okay.
First, start in your downward dog. Pedal your feet out. Go on your tip toes for one breath then bring your heals down to the ground. Take one step forward, about six inches from where you started. Go on your tippie-toes for a breath and bring your heels down. Take another step forward and repeat the previous step. Do this until your feet are close to your hands. As you walk forward, the harder it will get. Practice this for a while and it will help you get comfortable with being upside down and having weight in your wrists.
Another pose you can try is dolphin pose. Start in table top position, on your hands and knees. Make sure your hips are right above your knees and bring your elbows down so that you are on your forearms. Your shoulders should be right above your elbows and your arms are parallel to the long sides of your mat, not turning in. Lift your knees into a downward dog position. Feel your arms and feet pulling apart and your tailbone lifting towards the sky. Press with your forearms and firm your belly. Don’t let your head touch the floor. Straighten your knees as much as you can but if your back starts to curve, keep those bad boys bent.
One pose that can help you with being comfortable with being upside down are some backbends. Try full wheel pose. Wheel pose will bring your heart above your head and will give the feeling of an inversion. Start lying on your back with your knees up to the sky and your heels as close to your bum as possible. Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor right next to your ears, fingertips pointed towards your toes. Press into your feet, push your arms up away from the floor, and lift the crown of your head. Breathe. When coming down from the position, tuck your chin towards your collar bone and slowly lower down. After wheel pose, rest, and then go into plow to counter the position.
One of the least scary inversions you can try is shoulder stand. Start laying down on the floor with your arms next to your body. Bend your knees, press your arms into the floor, and push your feet away from the floor, kicking them up to the sky and over your head. Bring your hands onto the small of your back and slowly crawl your hands up your back towards your shoulders to get your hips a little higher. Bring your feet up to the sky. You ideally want to create a line from your shoulders to your feet. To get out of the pose, slowly lower down by walking your hands down your back towards your hips and then lowering your hips and legs to the ground.
Let’s try L-stands. Start in downward dog with your heels pressed against the base of a wall. Slowly crawl your feet up on the wall while making sure your shoulders are directly above the wrists. You may need to walk your hands closer to the wall than where you first began. Slowly lift one leg up to the sky and alternate.
Now, let’s try a few inversions. First, do some teeter-totters. Get into your downward dog. Walk forward until your shoulders are above your wrists. Lift one leg up and practice kicking up into a handstand but only halfway. Try the other leg after a few kicks. Keep practicing this until you feel comfortable kicking up. When you are ready, kick all the way up to handstand with the wall behind you.
Congratulations! You have tried an inversion. Keep practicing and over time you will start getting comfortable with being upside down.
Want more tips and tutorials from Karel? Visit her site YogaWithKarel.com and follow her on Tumblr.