One of my favorite fall rituals is watching squirrels running around the local park, gathering nuts and preparing for the long winter months to come. While we're not hoarding cans in our basement, we prepare for the long winter too. Aside from getting a flu shot and stocking up on vitamin C, yoga inversions can help store our energy for the chilly months ahead.
If you've avoided inversions because they put so much pressure on your neck, Dolphin Pose is a great way to get all the benefitslike increased blood flow to the head and lymph nodeswithout any of the risks. Plus this posture doesn't put any strain on your wrists, so it's ideal for people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or general wrist pain.
Begin on your hands and knees. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders and put your forearms on the floor. Interlace your fingers and press your forearms and hands into the floor firmly. Curl your toes under and press your hips up and back the way you would for Downward Dog. (Dolphin Pose is essentially Downward Dog, but the weight remains on your forearms instead of your wrists). Attempt to press your heels down and your thighs back.
The most important thing is to get a straight line between the top of your head and the base of your spine, so feel free to walk your feet back and bend your knees. Lastly, touch your heels to the floor. Lengthen your spine and keep your head off the floor but your neck relaxed. This should open your shoulders, create upper body strength, and allow blood to flow to your head. Hold Dolphin for 10–15 breaths. Repeat up to 3 times.
Practice Dolphin daily if you'd like, but bewareit's a super-invigorating pose, so avoid doing it after 8 p.m. if you have trouble sleeping.