Welcome back for another Yoga Pose of the Week with Jessie Dwiggins! This week’s poses, Downward Dog on the Wall & Handstand, will work to balance the crown chakra.

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The Sanskrit name for the crown chakra is Sahasrara, meaning “thousandfold,” and represents a lotus flower with a thousand petals. It symbolizes reaching our highest fulfillment and perfection. The crown chakra is the connection point to universal energy and divine intelligence.

Imagine a lotus flower blossoming at the crown of your head, its roots running down the chakra system to connect with the earth. Each chakra point is intertwined from the root chakra all the way up to the crown. They form a full and complex energy system, an energetic channel through which our personal power flows. Through one’s journey of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development, this power is awakened. In the system of yoga, this power is called kundalini and represents the arousal of human potential. Awakening kundalini energy is journey from darkess into light, from not knowing to knowing. A journey beautifully symbolized by the lotus. The lotus flower grows out of mud and darkness and finally unfolds into a pure, radiant flower.

Chakra

Balance Your Crown Chakra with Downward Dog on the Wall & Handstand

The crown chakra ought not be awakened unless the energy of all the other chakras has been awakened. Downward Dog on the Wall & Handstand will subtly stimulate the crown chakra without disturbing its circulation of energy. For intensive work, one must have the help of an experienced teacher. For our purposes, these inversions will literally shift your perspective by turning you upside down. They are great when you feel like your head is “in the clouds” or fatigued, both indicators of an unbalanced crown chakra.

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Strike a Pose: How to

Downward Dog on the Wall (Right Angle Handstand)

1. Roll out your mat with one short edge up against a wall. Sit up against the wall with your legs outstretched. Look at where your heels land, that is where you will put your hands.

2. Come onto hands and knees. Place your hands where your heels were, shoulder width distance apart.

3. Come into Downward Facing Dog with your heels touching the baseboard. Resist the urge to walk your hands further away from the wall.

4. Inhale and firm your upper arms and wrap your shoulder blades toward the armpits.

5. Exhale and walk your feet about 4 feet up the wall. Stack your shoulder over your wrists, relax your neck, pull your front ribs in, and engage your quads as you push your feel into the wall.

6. Align your body so it’s a right angle, bending from the hips. If your hamstrings are tight bend your knees slightly while pushing your feet into the wall.

7. Relax your head and neck. Feel for reaching your chest toward the wall.

8. Stay in the pose for up to 5 breaths and gradually build up to a 30-second hold.

9. To come out of the pose, walk your feet down the wall. Set your knees down; sit on your heels with your arms outstretched, and rest in Child’s Pose.

Do Downward Dog on the Wall at least 25 times (not all at once) before moving on to Handstand. It will prepare your upper body to support more weight.

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Handstand (Against a Wall)

1. Come into Downward Facing Dog pose with your fingertips an inch or two away from a wall, hands shoulder width. Wrap your shoulder blades toward your armpits and firm your outer arms inward.

2. Bend your knees and walk your feet closer to your hands so your shoulders stack over your wrists.

3. Inhale and lift one leg up.  Take a few practice hops to get used to being airborne. Exhale, sweep your lifted leg toward the wall and push off the foot that’s on the floor. As your feet leave the floor, press on your hands and activate your abdominal muscles to help lift your lower body over your shoulders.

4. Hopping up and down might be all you can manage for now. That’s great! With continued practice you will get stronger.

5. At first your feet might crash into the wall. In time you will become lighter at pressing yourself up to handstand.

6. One you’re in the pose. Lean your feet up against the wall. Squeeze your inner legs and reach your legs upward. Relax your head and neck.

7. Stay in the pose for up to 5 breaths and gradually build up to a 30-second hold.

8. To come out of the pose, be sure not to collapse the shoulders, take one foot off the wall and reach the leg down toward the floor, followed by the other leg. Rest in Child’s Pose.

9. As you’re practicing, be sure to switch the leg you’re kicking up with, we tend to use the same leg all the time.

These inversions are not appropriate for people with back, shoulder or neck injuries, headaches, heart conditions, high blood pressure, or during menstruation. If you are experienced with handstand, you can continue your practice until late into pregnancy. However, it is not advised to start an inversion practice if you are pregnant and not experienced.

A major obstacle to standing on your hands is the fear of falling, that’s perfectly natural. Stick with Downward Dog on the Well or simply Downward Facing Dog until you feel steady on your arms. Shift your perspective. Turn your world upside down. You might be surprised at the burst of energy and mental clarity that comes from it.

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Get help with inversions. Take a yoga class with Jessie Dwiggins at Raffa Yoga in Cranston, RI. For lots more information, visit www.jessiedwiggins.com or email Jessie at Jessie@jessiedwiggins.com. Jessie also offers online yoga classes, check out her website for details.

Yoga Pose of the Week Disclaimer.

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Brendon Cunha
Written by Brendon Cunha
A guy with a passion for weaving words, I enjoy reading novels, sipping iced coffee, and indulging my Disney obsession. My favorite quote is: “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney