Home Practice: Seated, Backbends, Inversions
Updated: Oct 6, 2020
So up till now we have covered the beginning and middle of a Vinyasa Yoga practice and the many ways to adapt it to how you want to do it. This blog post is going to continue in that way and focusing on the ending of practice. I am also going to introduce props! For seated, backbends, and inversion asana props can be an amazing addition for either helping you go deeper or giving comfort for holding. Like I said... you pick on the day. The poses focused in this blog might be considered advanced but can be made accessible with props and can be really empowering. You can also create your own yoga props from common house hold items! A book becomes a block, a robe belt becomes a strap, and a pillow rolled in a blanket can easily be made into a bolster.. hesto presto yoga studio!
Like before, let’s keep things simple. 2-3 seated poses, maybe a backbend or two and an inversion to finish off if you like. My number one rule (maybe number 2, breathing is number 1) practice poses you want to practice!! Also make sure your safe, one way to be safe is use props, and do counter poses.
1. Seated poses: some say that on the ground is where the hard physical work of yoga begins. So maybe for you seated poses are not considered a wind down! I hate to impose that seated poses are easy, they are not. Anyone who has ever tried Firelog, hip opener, pose might agree! Place a block under the knee or 2 blocks one under opposite foot and knee. Some other seated poses to try are a forward fold or butterfly. Keep it simple, just like before, pick a couple. You can also make it dynamic with seated poses by completing a “vinyasa” between each. This is done by moving through the plank-lower down- cobra-downdog and back into the next seated pose.
2. Backbends: A counter pose is necessary in backbends to bring the spine back to neutral, this is easily done with a child’s pose or seated forward fold. For example, if your feeling bold and energitic maybe Wheel Pose is something you want to do, after come back down to the mat and counter it by doing a seated forward fold. A great way to adapt this pose is to lay a bolster on a chair and lay on top of the boster. Or maybe Bow pose excites you, then counter pose with child’s pose. If the sound of backbends without a teacher present to assist sounds out of reach.. then skip them. Remember it is all adjusted to you. I would proceed with caution around backbends or do smaller ones if you have shoulder or back injuries. There is always an accessible one for you with anything, remember cat/cow from the warmup blog? Yep! Cow is a backbend! So don’t think that all of these are out of reach.
3. Inversions: Just like assuming seated poses are easy, inversions don’t have to be advanced or challenging. Cue props! Shoulder stand can be done with a chair and bolster (pillow/blanket) as well as from the mat. The whole intention of an inversion is to reverse flow of blood in the body. It doesn’t matter if you have mastered handstand or you are laying with your legs up a wall... physiologically you are achieving the same thing. In saying that, there are some conditions that it is recommended to not be inverted fully and then legs up the wall would be more beneficial: high blood pressure, glaucoma, stroke, or other heart conditions. You also maybe don’t like the feeling of blood coming back to the head/heart and can make you uncomfortable. It’s important to understand our bodies like that and take charge of how we choose to move them, with purpose and working for us!
Hopefully this have given you some ideas of how to incorporate props into your home practice. Any one has been to my class knows I love a good prop or two! Check out Accessible Yoga's or Dianne Bondy's websites for inspirations on examples of more ways to incorporate props, walls, and chairs into your practice.