10 Super Easy and Gentle Yoga Modifications Anyone Can Do

Shoulder Stand

Shoulder-Stand.jpg
This challenging inversion boosts metabolism, blood flow to the brain, and energy. It requires strength through the upper arms, shoulders, and core.

For both the assisted and advanced variations of this pose, make sure to keep your neck straight the entire time to prevent injury. Keep your neck long and gaze towards your legs, keeping your head straight.

Assisted

  1. Lie on back with knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Take your hands alongside your body.
  2. Pressing into your palms, lift your hips up towards the ceiling and slide a block underneath your sacrum (either on widest or shortest side, whichever is most comfortable). Lower your hips to rest on the block.
  3. Draw knees in towards chest to lift feet off of the ground. Straighten legs in the air, reaching feet towards the ceiling. Engage thighs and flex feet. Hold for 8 breaths.
  4. Lower feet back to the ground, lift hips, and remove block.

Advanced

  1. Lie on back with knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Take your hands alongside your body.
  2. Press hands and arms into the ground as you use the strength of your abs to lift legs straight up towards the ceiling. Bend elbows and place hands on low back to create a shelf.
  3. Keep weight out of your neck by pushing upper arms down against the floor and reaching up through toes. Keep abs engaged the entire time. Hold for 8 breaths.
  4. Bend knees and use hands to slowly roll down one vertebra at a time.

Plow

plow.jpg
This pose has many of the same benefits as the Shoulder Stand. An added bonus of the advanced variation of Plow pose is that it helps to lengthen out the spine. It is a great counter pose for backbends such as Camel Pose.

Assisted

  1. For the assisted version of Plow pose, follow Step 1-2 of the Assisted Shoulder Stand (above). Then continue to Step 2 of the Advanced version of Plow pose below.

Advanced

  1. Start in the advanced Shoulder Stand position with feet lifted towards the ceiling and hands supporting lower back.
  2. Keep abs engaged and squeeze thighs together as you slowly lower toes towards the floor behind your head. Keep gaze up at legs while in this pose and do not turn head side to side. If your toes don’t touch the floor behind your head, it is OK. Make sure to keep hands on lower back for support. Hold for 8 breaths.
  3. Use hands as brakes to slowly roll back down, one vertebra at a time.

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