Now is the time to conquer the fear of falling flat on your face and buying a piece of yoga studio real estate, by practicing and engaging in the fun world that yoga inversions offer.
This needn’t be a daunting task at all when practiced safely and slowly.
Try Try Again Yoga Inversions
It should not come as a surprise that for many yogis and yoginis alike, the process of being inverted, or rather upside down, does not come naturally.
Coupled with fear, quite a few people do not bode well with the feeling of blood rushing to their head and making them dizzy, which adds to the fear factor.
The great news is that you don’t have to be one of the slick and flexible acrobats found in circus acts to execute inversions.
If you decide to take the plunge (pardon the pun) and find yourself wanting to try out a few of these asanas, read further to discover more about these amazing feats and the benefits on offer with the regular practice of these deeply feared asanas.
Inversions are the types of yoga asanas where the heart is elevated above the head. To achieve this, one has to be in some sort of reverse direction, i.e., upside down.
These asanas are typically reserved for the more seasoned yogi or yogini, but there is no reason for a novice yoga practitioner to not dabble in it. Sometimes you will find that the movements that are more difficult for others come more naturally to you, and vice versa.
Known Benefits of Inversion Yoga Asanas
The types of benefits (What Happens To Your Body When You Start Doing Yoga ?) linked to the regular practice of inversions can be divided into two main categories, namely physical and psychological:
Character building. We, as humans, should never cease to challenge ourselves to grow. Not only is it a great boredom buster that will deter any feelings of being “stuck” or redundant, but it will also elevate your character as a whole to a new level.
The type of character building associated with yoga inversions is that of modesty and tenacity. The key to achieving success in this process is to have fun with it and never forget to be kind to yourself and to practice everything from a place of self-love. Celebrating any small wins that you gain along the way.
Once you achieve the first inversion asana, you will be even more determined to conquer the next one. It is the best feeling ever, akin to feeling a sense of godliness at your achievement.
Blood and Oxygen flow to the brain. Studies conducted by medical scholars have proven that being inverted and having a flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, increases concentration, and improves memory.
The reasoning behind these findings is that being inverted produces more oxygen, thus sending more nutrients to the brain. These nutrients, in turn, increases brain function and make the brain both faster and better. It has been shown that the brain works better in this position, strange as it may come across.
Changing perceptions. Being inverted nudges the yogi or yogini to change their view of the world. This is meant in every essence, both as well as figuratively speaking.
It makes the inverter, stop, take a breath, and perhaps change their entire perception of life in general. In some instances, a change in attitude has provided the comfort and safety of a proverbial life raft. And it might just very well be that thing that you needed, but never have known.
Energy for days. While you find yourself upside down, the brain soaks up all the boosted levels of oxygen, turning it into energy.
A renewed sense of strength. Which yogi and yogini does not want to possess a knowledge of enhanced durability?
The majority of the inversions force the avid yoga practitioner to engage their core muscles at all times, thus bringing it back to the middle, so to speak. All of this will circle again, and you will see great results in the improvement of your standing asanas.
Improved circulation. Suppose you find yourself suffering from bad circulation and feel the effects thereof in the colder seasons. It brings on the often painful and itchy consequences that winter hands (and sometimes feet), known as chilblains, present. Then read on, this section is specifically aimed at you.
Going in the opposite direction that gravity intended for you to run on, you send back deoxygenated blood flow to the heart. This process is made possible by the collaboration between muscles and gravity.
Being upside down then helps this process along and improves overall circulation throughout the body. In reverse to the deoxygenated blood traveling to the heart, the newly oxygenated blood goes back to the brain and the face.
Lymphatic flow. The body’s lymph traps toxins, bacteria, and surplus proteins and rids the body by sending them to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes, in turn, then purge the body of them. Being upside-down speeds up this process, and promotes this cleansing ritual.
Assisting the nervous system. When practicing the Headstand and Handstand inversions, the body is stimulated and produces heat. The Shoulderstand and the Legs up the wall asana, in turn, acts as a cooling agent to the body and relaxes the nervous system.
Therefore if you are feeling stressed or down from the absence of a proper night’s rest, practice the Shoulderstand and Legs up the wall poses.
We will delve into the 10 most popular yoga inversions for you to try out next:
Forward Fold Pose – Uttananasana
This is a trendy pose with yogis and yoginis worldwide, and it is a component of Surya Namaskar – the Sun Salutation sequence.
- Start by standing with your feet together on a flat surface or a sticky mat.
- Place your hands, palms down, either next to your feet or on the ground (depending on how far you can stretch).
- By inhaling, lengthen your chest, as this will extend your spine at the same time. Remember to look straight ahead in front of you.
- Hold for a few counts. Then exhale and slowly straighten the legs. Lift up the patelas (kneecaps) and arch your inner thighs and back.
**Remember to keep your legs straight and don’t overextend the legs too far, possibly causing injury**
Downward-Facing Dog Pose – Adho Mukha Svanasana
This is one of the first poses that a novice yoga practitioner will learn at a yoga class. It also forms part of the well-loved Sun Salutation sequence.
It is known to improve the flow of blood to the brain by flowing against gravity.
Crow Pose – Bakasana
The crow pose is probably one of the first inversions to try your hand at. You are not too far from the ground, and this pose will help build arm strength.
- Starting in a squat like position, keep your feet together on the floor and your knees as wide apart as possible.
- Gently move your torso forward so that your shoulders fit between the space of your knees on either side.
- Hold on to the outer portion of your shoulders by using your knees, and place your hands in front of the chest close to the heart.
- Extend your upper body away from your belly button and push the pelvis down to the floor.
- Next, place your palms facing down on the floor shoulder distance apart and about 8” from your feet.
- Stand up on your toes and move gently forward until your elbows are over your wrists.
- Inching the chest forward, pick up your heels toward your buttocks.
- Gently roll the upper arms backward and away from the floor.
- Knees can balance on your tricep muscles, or grab the outer part of the shoulders.
- Pressing the arms as straight as possible, and bring your feet and buttocks together as far as you can.
**Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat, or transition into Chaturanga pose**
Headstand Pose – Sirasana
The pose that is the greatest at promoting self-confidence. Once a yogi or yogini can practice this post successfully and properly, they will gain more in the field of improved memory and clarity of mind in general.
A whole new world awaits with changing your perception and opening your mind to think differently.
Feathered Peacock Pose – Pincha Mayurasana
As challenging a balancing act, this asana is, the beautiful the pose is when done correctly. There is mysterious energy attached to this pose, akin to no other. But only for those who dare to try.
- Take both knees to the floor, kneeling approximately 4” away from a wall on your yoga mat.
- Bend forward and place your elbows, forearms, and palms flat on the ground.
- Spread your fingers and point them straight out in front of you.
- Elbows and hands should remain straight, and the elbows should be right underneath the shoulders.
- Rotate the shoulders out and open your chest.
- Start by lifting the knees off the ground, bending the legs straight behind you.
- Lift your hipbones up as high in the air as possible.
- Lift the shoulders away from the floor, while pulling the shoulder blades backward.
- Lift the head and look straight in front of you. This will create the arch of the back that lengthens the spine.
- Continue lifting the hips and inhaling.
- With the next exhale, hop the legs up until you feel confident enough to kick them over your head.
- Put the one foot in front of the other and bend the knee.
- Use the bended knee as a launch position to spring up the other leg so that you can swing one up after another.
**Release, repeat, and switch sides so that the legs are strong enough on both sides**.
Handstand Pose – Adho Mukha Vrkasana
This pose might come across as being the one to strike the most fear. However, when it is conquered, it leaves the practitioner with a deep sense of excitement.
It is best known for its tension releasing properties.
Bridge Pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This pose is cooling and soothing, so it’s one of the last poses to be practiced. It’s excellent for opening the chest and to transition into the wheel pose.
- Lie on your sticky mat on the flat of your back.
- Bend both knees and place the feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Slide your arms next to the side for your body, ending with your palms spread out flat on the floor, facedown. Fingertips should gently caress the heels.
- Pressing the feet on the floor, inhale and raise the hips to the sky by rolling the spine off the floor.
- Squeeze the knees together to keep the hips from falling in, while engaging in the pose.
- Press the arms down and lift the shoulders, opening the chest.
- Squeeze the legs and buttocks together to lift the hips higher off the ground.
- Release by exhaling and rolling the spine slowly back to the floor.
**Practice a few repetitions**
Shoulder Stand Pose – Sarvangasana
Also, part of the last poses to finish a session off with and is excellent for the lymphatic and nervous systems’ functions.
Plow Pose – Halasana
This is a relaxing pose that is great to do early in the morning as it jump-starts the organ functions.
- Starting by lying on your sticky mat, on the flat of your back.
- Arms extended along your sides, with the palms facing flat-down, and the legs extended out straight in front of you.
- Inhale and use your muscles in the abdomen to lift the legs and hips off the floor.
- Bring your legs and torso over your head by straightening the legs.
- Lower your toes to the floor with your legs fully extended over your head.
- With the feet now firmly rested on the floor, extend your arms along the floor and interlace your fingers.
- Press your upper arms into the floor and draw the hands down through the pinky finger.
- Lift the pelvis higher and draw the groin to the inside of the pelvis.
- Leaving a gap between the chin and the chest, lift the chest higher to open the upper spine.
- Relax the throat and gaze downward at your cheeks.
- Hold the pose for as long as you can.
- Exit the pose by supporting the back with the hands and rolling the spine down to the ground, one vertebra at a time.
**Relax for a few minutes and repeat**
Wheel Pose – Chakrasana
A pose very profoundly connect to the seven chakras found along the spine of the human body. Promotes strength and confidence building.
Think about your next cool Instagram yoga pic as soon as you have mastered the first inversion. Namaste!
Quote of the day:
“When you listen to yourself, everything comes naturally. It comes from the inside, like a kind of will to do something. Try to be sensitive. That is yoga – Petri Rӓisӓnen.”