The Dolphine Posture Or Half Headstand (Ardha Sirsassana)

Type : Sitting

Justification : Inversion (preparation for headstand)

Complimentary Posture : Adho Mukha Virasana


Physical Benefits :  Improves circulation to the head.  Reinforces shoulders, shoulder blades and scapulaire belt.   Stretches  arms, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and arches while strengthening the arms and legs.


Therapeutic Benenfits :   Relieves tension headache, mild depression, insomnia and sciatica. Also good for relieving menopausal symtoms.


Limitations :  To be avoided if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, slipped disc, vertigo, inflammation in the ears, myopia, asthma, cold or sinus problems.

How To Practice :

 Fold a blanket or sticky mat in four and place it in front of you on the ground. Place the formearms firmly on the mat with the elbows shoulder-width apart-no wider !!!. Interlock the fingers at the roots. The distance between the elbows should be equal distance from each elbow to the interlocked fingers forming an equal triangle. Place the crown of the head on the blanket just inside the cradled fingers. Lift the knees up and straighten your legs keeping the toes on the floor. Walk in to your elbows on your tippy toes as close as you possibly can.  Breathe 5-6 breaths and come back down into Vajrasana to recuperate. Repeat 3 times.


Tips : You can try lifting one leg up to the ceiling and then the other as this is a preparation for the full posture, Sirsasana. You can also walk into your elbows with your head lifted to intensify the movement in the shoulders, shoulder-blades and upper back. Make sure the crown of the head is centered firmly on the mat or blanket and you are not rolling too far onto the forehead or the back of the head.  Make sure the clasped hands are supporting the back of the head.


As this posture increases blood-circulation to the head and obliges you to breathe deeply, it can do wonders for tension headaches ! It also reinforces and opens up the shoulder girdle while giving the back of the legs a great stretch. This is a fun first step to the full handstand.

Feet Up The Wall : Viparita Karani

Type : Inversion

Justification : Restorative posture

Self complimentary


Physical Benefits : Stimulates the digestive system and blood circulation . Relieves lower-back pain, jet-lag, constipation, urinary problems, high and low blood pressure, menstrual cramps, problems associated with menopause, head-ache and migraine.

Reinforces the muscles in the neck, arm and legs and relieves arthritus.


Therapeutic Benefits : Aliviates depression, fatigue and anxiety. Calms and cools the nervous system and re-establishes the breathing. Rebalances the hormones andimmune system.

Limitations : To be avoided if you have glaucoma, hypertension, hernia or have recently undergone surgery in the neck or back. There are two schools of thought for executing this posture during menstruation.


How To Practice :   Note : Depending on your flexibility the supports you use can be higher or lower. 

Using a bolster  (or 3 folded blankets, folded length-wise in accordion fashion) and a brick. Place the brick against the wall and then place the bolster flush against the brick. There are two ways (that I know of) to get into this : the first one is to hike your buttocks up the wall sittingsideways on the bolster, hip bone flush against the wall and then to gimmy your sitting bones up and against the wall. I find this a little awkward and somewhat difficult. The other way is do what we call in French, a galipette, or somersault. Kneel down in front of the bolster and place each hand at each edge of, but ON the bolster. Now place your head on the floor, just in front of the bolster. Straighten legs and lift knees and hips up into downward dog (adho mukha savasana). Roll the pelvis towards the wall, try to find the wall with your back and kick the legs up over the head and let the shoulders slide onto the bolster while flipping your legs and feet along the wall. Slide down and snuggle into the posture keeping your sitting bones and backs of your thighs against wallwith the legs straight. Your abdomen should be relaxed and soft as should your hip-flexors. Roll your shoulders slightly under your shoulder-blades to open up the chest. Place the arms along the sides of your torso, in a cross position, in cactus or place your hands on your lower abdomen.  Lengthen the cervical spine and totally relax and abandon yourself into the pose. Soften the skin of the face, the ears, eyes, nose and tongue.  Keep your teeth slightly apart and let the tongue rest passively along the bottom of your mouth. After 10-15 minutesyou can bend your legs and bring them into a cross-legged position. After a few minutes change the crossing of the legs. For pre-natal and menopausal women, widen the legs on the wall.


Stay for as long as you can- at least 10 minutes. To come out, bend your legs and using your feet, push out from the wall and slide back on the mat keeping just your feet on the bolster. Relax for a few breaths in savasana. Or, if you’re feeling really frisky and have no cervical issues, bring the legs back over the head into the plough pose(Halasana) and roll back (Chakrasana) into Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana) and finally into Child’s Pose (Adho Mukha Virasana).