One-Pose Wonder: Shoulder Stand at the wall

#2 of 12 days of New Year’s Resolutions: do at least 7 minutes of yoga a day. Got this one from Realistic Resolutions from Dr. Oz, and obviously adore it. I used to have the mindset that if I couldn’t do a “full” practice, no yoga would be done. Sort of the old all or nothing approach. But then I realized the power of one or a handful of poses; basically, some is always better than none when it comes to yoga. And 7 minutes? I like how he says, Most people aren’t brazen enough to admit they can’t carve out seven minutes in their schedule. ‘Nuf said.

Many of us want to kick off the New Year hardcore, and that’s fine. But don’t forget to add some yin to that yang, especially if you were livin’ large during the holidays. This one-pose wonder (well, it’s really a 2-for-1) fits very nicely into the 7 minutes slot. But feel free to make it longer too.

Viparita Karani into Sarvangasana/Shoulder Stand at the wall

Inversions change up the blood flow for the obvious reason that you are upside down. But did you know that your veins, unlike arteries, can’t push blood along? They rely on movement to get blood from the periphery back to your heart. These inversions get venous blood from the feet, legs and pelvis back to the center. Both poses are restorative inversions, to soothe the nervous system and allow both body and mind to let go.

Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall). A wonderful wind-down, viparita karani will help harness ungrounded energy and transition you towards bedtime.

  • Stand with your side against a wall so that your shoulder is touching it. Sit down, maintaining that close connection to the wall.
  • In one movement, swing your legs gently up the wall and lay your torso down on the floor. You’ll then need to shift your hips away from the wall a few inches; experiment with a position that feels right for you. If you have tight hamstrings or lower back issues, you can put a folded blanket underneath your hips for support.
  • Once you get settled, make sure you have some distance between your feet and take your arms away from your body, palms up. Let your head rock gently from side to side; bring it back to center and close your eyes.
  • Stay here anywhere from 5-15 minutes, focusing all attention on your breath.

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand). Called the “queen of asanas”, shoulder stand addresses so many bodily complaints. You should practice shoulder stand under the guidance of a yoga teacher, to ensure that you are setting things up correctly. This version, done at the wall, is easier to come into while remaining aligned.

  • From Viparita Karani, bend your knees and place your feet on the wall. Lift your hips, and immediately bring your hands to your low back for support (your knees should line up over your shoulders).
  • Slowly and carefully straighten your legs, one at a time, keeping feet together and on the wall. Hands remain on the low back.
  • Stay here anywhere from 5-15 minutes, focusing all attention on your breath.