Feeling stressed, overwhelmed or the start of a tension headache?
Want to improve your digestion, circulation and immune system?
Need to calm and energize and the same time?
Shine Your Light in Candle Pose!
Candle Pose, also known as Shoulder Stand, encourages harmony and health throughout the whole body system. It is a great way to get all the benefits of an inversion in a safe, easy pose. This yoga pose also strengthens sensory integration by bringing our attention to the back of our body.
Do you know the benefits of Shoulder Stand?
Candle Pose (sarvangasana) stretches our shoulders and legs while toning our abs. This pose improves digestion, strengthens our immune system, reduces fluid retention in the lower body and helps bring deoxygenated blood back to the heart. It also calms and energizes while reducing stress and fatigue.
How To: Candle Pose
Start by lying down on your back
Bring your legs overhead, rolling your weight into your shoulders
Draw your elbows together and place hands on low to mid back for support
Option to tap your feet down on the floor behind your head in plow as you adjust your elbows
Firm abs and extend legs upward
Make sure the weight remains in the shoulders and the neck is relaxed
Gaze up at the toes
Tips for Mastering Candle Pose:
Body weight stays in the shoulders. Notice if you are putting any weight or pressure onto the back of your neck. Place a blanket or other padding under your shoulders to lift your neck further away from the floor.
Draw elbows toward each other and shoulder blades in to create more stability and support for your hips and low back.
Focus your drishti (gaze) on your toes and then soften your gaze and relax your face and jaw. Once your feel steady, you may close your eyes and bring focus to your third eye (the space between your eyebrows).
Bring your awareness to your breathing and find calm and stillness as you work in this pose.
Combine Candle Pose with Fish Pose in our kids’ sing-along song about a Blue-Footed Booby from the Galapagos!
Kid-friendly Variations for Shoulder Stand (Candle Pose):
1. Add a breathing exercise by asking the children to take a deep breath and then blow out their flame (their feet). Pretend it is a magic candle that keeps relighting every time you blow it out. Sing Happy Birthday or This Little Light of Mine to encourage children to stay in the pose longer.
2. You don’t even have to lift your hips to receive the benefits of this pose. Keep your hips resting on the floor and either lift legs into the air or rest them on a wall for Legs Up The Wall pose. This restorative Candle Pose variation is a lovely transition to relaxation at the end of class.
3. Dance in the pose! In both Candle and Legs Up the Wall, encourage children to explore different leg positions, widening the legs to a “V” or bending knees and bringing the soles of the feet together in a Cobbler’s pose. Ask for their ideas and pretend you are bicycling, walking on the ceiling or dancing in the clouds!
4. Add a social-emotional component by turning candle into a partner or group activity. For the partner variation, have two children lie head-to-head and pass their flame back and forth to one another (add an orange scarf to make this super fun). For some group fun, have all the children lie head-to-head in a circle. As they come into candle, have them touch feet together gently overhead and suddenly you are a group tent, teepee, igloo or spaceship!
Because this pose is naturally calming, you may notice children transition easily into relaxation. From the solo or group pose, take a big breath in and then blow out the candle as slowly as possible while lowering legs to the floor. Goodnight!
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