Yoga Tips from QSY- Headless Headstand

This post was written by QSY director, Leena Miller Cressman.

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know that we’re not exactly big fans of headstands with the weight on the head around QSY. You can read more about our yoga-world famous post (or was it infamous?) here on our blog and here in Yoga International.

(If you want to know why I joke that it was infamous, check out the comments section on the Yoga International post… good times! My favorite is the commenter “Nico”, who repeatedly refers to me as “Ms. Don’t Do That”. Thanks, Nico, I love the new nickname! All things considered, compared to much of the internet, it’s a pretty tame comments section.)

So while we choose not to practice and teach headstand (and shoulderstand) at QSY because of safety concerns for the issues that might arise from weight bearing on the neck, we do love our handstands and variations of headstand where the shape of the pose is similar but no actual weight is placed on the head (making it a headless headstand). Continue reading

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Matthew Remski’s Thoughtful Response to Our Inversion Policy

Lyn Tally- Park Circle Community Yoga

Lyn Tally- Park Circle Community Yoga

Leena’s recent blog post on our Inversion policy has received a lot of attention from the online yoga community. The post currently has over 7,500 views. Matthew Remski, who is part of QSY’s Yoga Teacher Training faculty and is currently teaching a course on Ayurveda here at the studio, has written a thoughtful response to Leena’s post, citing his own research into the intersection of yoga, injury, pedagogy and medical research.

Matthew’s response was published on Yoga International and had over 40,000 views in the first few days. We really appreciate the research Matthew has been doing in his WAWADIA project, and the greater context he is able to place this discussion in.

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Headstand and Shoulderstand at Queen Street Yoga

 

This post was written by Leena Miller Cressman, director of Queen Street Yoga, about her current thinking and understanding of inversions.

We recently added the following statement to our “Studio Policy and Etiquette” document that we post around the studio and on our website. We are the first yoga studio community that we know of to make a public statement about this. We hope that this adds to important conversations about safety and risk in the wider yoga community.

Inversions at QSY: We choose not to teach full Headstand and full Shoulderstand (where weight is placed on the head and neck) due to safety concerns for the spine. We ask that students do not practice these poses before, after, or during public classes for the safety of all QSY members.

What’s an inversion anyway?

judy_and_ed- Yogi and Her ShadowsDifferent styles or traditions of yoga define inversions differently. Most generally, inversions can be any pose where the head is at a lower position than the heart and pelvis. This could include simple and common poses like downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) or standing forward bend (Uttansana), but also arm balancing poses like handstand or forearm stand. The two poses often called “full inversions” in yoga literature are headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) and shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana). Many teachers, such as BKS Iyengar, have gone as far as to say that headstand and shoulderstand are the King and Queen of all yoga poses.

Continue reading