Our practice so far has been building us up for this challenge. We’ve engaged in poses to stabilize our core, built our endurance with level 2 core stabilizing poses, added a little heat with a fire sequence, and now we will finish strong with balance! As with any balance pose we engage in, please proceed with caution. Listen to your body and move slowly through this practice. Feel free to also use a prop or wall for support as we engage.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
Stand tall upright either on or off your mat. Take a few cleansing breaths to center yourself before your practice.
As you inhale, lift your arms above your head and lace all but the index fingers. Draw your forearms just over the ears and relax the shoulders.
As you exhale, step forward with your right leg while lifting the back left leg off the earth. Engage your pelvic muscles as you begin to draw your chest forward. Move forward until your body is parallel to the earth.
Hold Warrior 3 for 5 breaths deep breaths, keeping the body stable and core engaged. Repeat on your other leg.
Crane (Bakasana) to Headstand (Sirsasana)
Note: Feel free to practice this pose in front of a wall for support. As with any transitional balance pose, move slowly and with control. Try practicing both poses individually before attempting the transition.
Come into a deep squat with your feet about hips-width apart
Place your hands flat on the earth about shoulders-width apart with your fingers wide-spread. Ensure your elbows are drawn into your sides (it helps to have your hands turned out slightly on the earth with your index fingers pointing straight ahead).
Place your knees on your forearms and begin to shift your weight onto your arms one leg at a time (try to get your knees high above your arms. The deeper you are able to bed into your hips, the higher you’ll be able to take your knees).
As you move forward, keep your neck lifted and take both toes off the earth into Crane. Hold for 5 breaths.
As we make the transition to our Headstand, move with control and stability. Begin to round the spine and move the crown of the head towards the earth. Land into a tripod handstand with the crown of your head and both hands stabilizing your body.
When you are able to find your balance in tripod headstand, exhale and begin to move your legs up towards the sky, keeping your core engaged and slowly un-rounding your spine.
Hold in your headstand for 5 breaths. *Please Note: These photos do not show a tripod headstand, which is a great option for individuals who are newer to inversions. To work into a tripod headstand you’ll keep both hands on the mat in front of you with your arms bent. This will allow for additional support in headstand.*
Headstand/Sirsasana Toe Taps
From your headstand, keep your pelvic muscles engaged as you separate your legs. Hold your headstand with your legs separated.
From your balance keep your core braced as you lower one leg at a time towards the earth to tap (for an additional challenge, see if you can tap your legs to the opposite side of your body).
Tap each toe on the earth 5 times.