Pose, Counter Pose: Headstand and Shoulderstand Sequence


Woman practicing yoga headstand
Granger Wootz / Getty Images

This sequence of inversions starts with a Headstand (for more detailed instructions, see How to Do a Headstand). Practice at the wall if you are not comfortable in the middle of the room. Another option is to just do the preparatory version of the pose, in which you do not fully invert.

Plow Pose - Halasana

Plow Pose - Halasana. © Barry Stone

After Headstand, come to lie on your back and bring yourself into Plow Pose. Plow and Shoulderstand are good follow-ups to headstand because they stretch the neck out, relieving any compression.

Shoulderstand - Salamba Sarvangasana

Shoulderstand With a Blanket
Shoulderstand With a Blanket. Debra McClinton/Taxi/Getty Images

From Plow, bring yourself into Shoulderstand. To keep the neck safe, refrain from turning your head to either side while you are in this pose. Instead, keep your gaze straight up towards your toes. A blanket under your shoulders will help prevent flattening of the cervical spine.

Ear Pressure Pose - Karnapidasana

How to Do Ear Pressure Pose - Karnapidasana
Ear Pressure Pose - Karnapidasana. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Drop the knees to either side of the head, pressing the knees close to the ears, as you come into Karnapidasana.

Fish Pose - Matsyasana

Fish Pose - Matsyasana
Fish Pose - Matsyasana. © Ann Pizer

Roll out onto your back and remove any blankets you may have used in Shoulderstand. Arch your back and support yourself by planting your elbows and forearms on the ground. Tilt your head back until your crown in resting on the floor in Fish Pose.

Fish Variation I

Fish Variation I. © Ann Pizer

Engage your core to raise your legs up off the floor.

Fish Variation II

Fish Variation II. © Ann Pizer

Bring the arms up towards the ceiling with the palms pressed together. Hold this posotion for several breaths before coming to lie flat on your back for a rest.

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