This week's questions are below.
Question 1: Thanks for posting so many great videos....really enjoying them. I have a couple of questions. Can you post a video (or point me to it if you have done already) showing how you go up into a headstand? I am doing your 30 min afternoon yoga and I am feeling stress on my head and neck which i know is not right. Secondly, where is the hip crease ? (This from the same video)
Answer 1: Hi there! Thanks for the kind words. Check out this video for how to go up into headstand - hope that will help. Basically you want to have most of the weight in the forearms for supported headstand and very little weight on the head and neck.
Related A headstand sequence (for when you're feeling comfortable up there)
Ok the hip crease is the space on the body where the leg and the torso meet. When you're seated, with your back against the back of the chair, look down at your legs and where the crease is, where the legs meet the pelvis, that's the hip crease. Hope that helps!
Question 2: I sometimes move from shoulder stand to bridge (and vice versa) during my asana practice. On some occasions, I position my palms or fists on my low back while moving in and out of the postures for additional support. This is not a progression I've encountered in a group class; rather, I discovered it while playing on the mat at home. The progression seems natural and graceful to me, plus I feel strong and in tune with my body doing it. However, I'm not sure if it is advisable from a physiological standpoint to move this way. In your professional opinion, is moving from shoulder stand to bridge (or vice versa) safe?
Answer 2: The thing I've learned from my own practice, from teaching, and from being a student of incredibly knowledgeable teachers is that the foundation of a solid yoga practice is self trust. Your words about feeling graceful, strong and in tune with your body tell me that your practice has a strong sense of self trust, so it sounds like going from shoulder stand to bridge is perfectly safe for you. I just tried it (on my kitchen floor, if I'm being honest!) and it felt nice. I did shoulder stand and then did a split with the legs, and slowly lowered one leg down and then the other. Very nice! Once I got into bridge with my hands still on my low back, I couldn't figure out how to safely get the legs to go back up into shoulder stand to test out the reverse, and my intuition tells me it wouldn't be advised to kick the legs up. So to reverse, I would just bring the hands back down to the mat, lower the hips and then slowly raise the legs up back into shoulder stand. So essentially it'd be: shoulder stand to split leg transition into bridge, to corpse pose to shoulder stand. Make sense?
That being said, I wouldn't recommend it for people new to yoga, or who aren't comfortable playing around with funky transitions. It takes self trust and knowing the body's capability, so if someone else wanted to give it a try but was feeling uncertain, I'd recommend asking an instructor to assist, but for you it sounds just fine.
Question 3: Slightly on the embarrassing side, but I spent most of my life feeling like I couldn't do yoga. I'm small but full figured (bust and hips), and have three small children. However, I started going to yoga three months ago, and began a habit at home. My problem is at currently a Double D, I struggle with some of the poses. For instance, a simple forward bend, where my instructor says to get your forehead to your knee. I'm kind of suffocating in my cleavage with the best sports bra coverage (or would be if i pushed my forehead any further) Do you have any suggestions?
Answer 3: No need to be embarrassed, friend! Yoga is for every body (see what I did there?)! So here's what I suggest. Make it work for you any old way you have to. This likely will mean adjusting the body to accommodate the chest. Whenever you feel like you need more room for the girls, see where you can adjust your body so there's more space. For a forward fold, try taking your legs a little bit wider and see if that helps. Just as an aside: remember that in forward fold where we're stretching the hamstrings, we want to feel the stomach on the thighs so we know the low back in long rather than rounded. The head doesn't need to get to the knees. Rather, keep the gaze forward toward your toes and keep the heart open so the spine is long. I think gazing forward and aiming to feel your stomach on your thighs will help to not feel as though you're suffocating in your cleavage.
Question 4: After taking a yoga break after the Christmas period (let's face it, I was just being lazy), I had every intention of kickstarting my home practice again.
That was until I slipped on ice and fell flat on my back. I cried. And cried. And swore. And cried. And was quite possibly the most pathetic 25 year old human for quite a few hours. But, I don't think I've done any real damage. I'm fairly certain I just bruised my lower back. I don't want to stop moving completely because it will just seize up and I won't be able to move at all. Any advice as to what I could do to keep my low back mobile without putting any strain on it?
Answer 4: Aw man, sorry to hear that you injured yourself! That is brutal! But sometimes, an injury can be a blessing in disguise. Maybe this is a chance to really jumpstart your yoga practice. Like, no excuses this time or your back will seize up - how beautiful is that?
No? Not seeing the beauty? Haha, sorry, I'm looking for a silver lining here.
Anyway! I would suggest something like yoga nidra - it is great for pain management, or simple guided meditation. Start with those which may help to loosen tension. Then from there, see what you can do from this restorative yoga practice, or low back video. Skip what you can't do, be really gentle and hyperaware of what your body is telling you, and let whatever you're able to do be enough. Speedy recovery!