This variation of Intense Upside-Down Face Pose is beneficial on many levels, including increasing energy, reducing depression and relieving back pain. It helps lower blood pressure and relieve headaches while also stimulating the thyroid and pituitary.
HOW TO DO IT:
This pose as shown in the photo is often done in combination with Supported Headstand, though it can be done on its own as well.
Begin in Wheel Pose. The weight of your hands should be at the base of your index fingers. You may either stay on your hands or gently lower onto your forearms. If on your forearms, keep them shoulder-width apart with the crown of your head between your elbows. To avoid taking too much weight onto your head and neck, actively press into the floor with your forearms. Roll your upper arms out. You may bring the heels of your hands against the back of your head for added support.
Walk your hands toward your feet (or your feet toward your hands if you're on your forearms), being mindful of your body's needs. It's okay if you can't get your hands close to your feet. It takes time to build up to this point.
Turn your upper thighs inward and firm your outer thighs. Spread your shoulder blades wide, pressing them down against your back. If on your hands, allow your head to hang in a neutral position or look down to the floor. Advanced students may choose to walk their hands up onto their shins for the full expression of Intense Upside-Down Face Pose. This is extremely difficult so do not push your body where it's not ready to go.
You may choose to raise your foot toward the ceiling, as in the photo. This will create a great stretch through your hamstrings. Actively reach with your heel, being careful to not twist your hips. Alternate which leg you lift, grounding yourself in your forearms--or the base of your index fingers if you're on your hands.
Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, or however long is comfortable for you. To come out of the pose, walk back out to Wheel Pose and gently lower yourself to the floor. Rest in Corpse Pose (Savasana) for a few breaths, taking note of how you feel. Repeat. As always, remember to breathe!