5. Pinching Shoulders Headstand| Baddha Hasta Sirsasana
Balancing the weight of your entire body on your head and forearms seems like a fast way to break your neck, but with enough focus and balance, you can master this Sirasana pose. Often referred to as the “mother” or “father” of yoga poses, Sirasana is a challenging pose with many benefits.
Builds strength in the shoulders, neck and core
Slows and reverses signs of aging
Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands
Calms the mind and relieves stress and mild depression
Relieves some symptoms of asthma, menopause, infertility, insomnia and sinusitis
Reverses the effects of gravity on the lungs, diaphragm and skin
To learn this pose:
Begin with your hands and knees on the mat. Lower your elbows to the floor with your palms facing down, making sure your arms are parallel.
Place the top of your head right in the middle of your two wrists.
Now straighten your legs and walk them as close as you can towards your face. Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your forearms planted firmly on the mat. Lift your right leg straight up towards the sky and stay here, or work on hopping your left leg up too, coming into Forearm Headstand. If you feel up to the challenge and your hamstrings are super flexible, you can try lifting both legs up simultaneously, using your abs.
Now press into your head and elbows and slowly lift your hands off the ground. Bring your fingertips together and gently touch them to your shoulders.
To hold your balance, try to keep the weight equally distributed from your elbows to your fingertips. Tuck your tailbone and ribs in to keep your torso nice and straight.
Hold this for five deep breaths, then lower your feet all the way down to the ground. Come into Child’s Pose to release your lower back and give your upper body a rest
6. Scorpion Pose | Vrschikasana
Handstand is hard enough, but when you throw an intense backbend in there, it might be a little too challenging for most people to want to try. This pose is one of the most challenging poses you can try because it requires the three zingers — balance, strength, and flexibility. This pose is insanely difficult, so if handstand isn’t happening for you quite yet, practice this pose in front of a wall.
Strengthens the shoulders, arms and back
Stretches the shoulders and chest
Decompresses the spine
Improves sense of balance
Relieves mild depression
To learn how to do this pose:
Begin in Downward Facing Dog. If you’re in front of a wall, place your fingertips 15 inches away from the wall.
Walk your feet as far as you can toward your hands. Lift your right leg in the air, coming into Three-Legged Dog.
Bend your left knee slightly and jump off the ball of your left foot, coming into handstand. Find your balance and slowly bend your knees, arching your back and lowering your toes toward the top of your head. If you’re in front of a wall, lean the tops of your feet into the wall and inch them down toward your head.
Hold this pose for five breaths, then straighten your legs up to the ceiling and lower them back into Down Dog.