“Do you have general suggestions for people with more flat thoracic and neck in headstand? I am a long time practitioner. Any comments would be helpful.
I would say think about the way you are placing your head on the floor and using your head, neck and shoulders. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Is your pose properly centered on your head? If you place a finger right in front of the opening of your ears and trace that up to the top of your head, it should get you to the place that is lined up with the center of gravity of your head. That will be the spot upon which to center your head in the pose.
• Are your ears lined up with your shoulder joints when you are in the pose? Very often people focus more on the placement of their head in their hands, palms flat on the skull. You want to have your wrist bones stacked up and your ears under your shoulder joints. This may mean that you will end up with a bit of space between your head and the center of your palms.
• When in the pose, are you allowing both the back of your skull AND the bridge of your nose to be weighted into the floor? Sometimes we try and effectively push the back of the head into the floor. This can flatten out the cervical spine.
• When in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), if you bring your arms overhead as if you were in headstand, are your forearms in line with the crown of your head? If they are higher, you will need a lift under your head. If lower, then you will need a lift under each forearm. You can experiment with how much height.
I thoroughly recommend reading Donald Moyer’s book, “Yoga: Awakening the Inner Body.” It features a whole chapter just on headstand (and another on shoulder stand) with detailed discussion of alignment and action in the pose, plus all sorts of prop variations to help you prepare and refine the pose.
In just two days’ time you might be finding yourself sitting in front of a table spread with all sorts of delicious holiday foods. If you’re like me, even if you put just a small helping of everything on your plate, you’re still going to end up with a huge plate of food. This practice is designed to open your abdomen, tone your organs and increase blood flow to your digestive tract, stoking your digestive fires in preparation for the occasion.
Modify the practice according to your capabilities and the time you have available, but try and keep at least one of each of the different kinds of poses: standing, abdominals, twists and inversions. (more…)
For a full discussion on using psoas major and minor to stabilize the pelvis, read the introduction to this practice.