Inversion Yoga Poses – Headstand (salamba shishhasana), is one of many yoga poses that can be considered an inversion pose. Inversion poses include any asanas which raise the feet above your head. Inversion poses include the shoulderstand (salamba-sarvangasana), half-shoulderstand (viparitakarani), and shoulderstand. You can also invert by lying on your back on a chair or on the ground, even if you are laying on your stomach.
Yoga texts refer to inversion as viparitakarani. Viparita Karaani means “opposite process”. This simply refers to facilitating a new perspective. Inversion is literally a new way of seeing the world.
As yoga goes beyond physical exercises, there are also other ways to help. Many yoga classes are designed to improve our mental health and help us develop new habits. Our ability to adapt to change is increased, and we are able to grow and transform by letting go of old patterns. This principle applies to all aspects of our life.
Inversion poses are a yoga practice that is thought to be beneficial. Ayurveda says that most of the body’s impurities can be found in the lower abdomen. The gravity assists us to move these impurities towards the Ayurvedic term agni or ‘fire’. Agni, which is located above the lower abdomen, refers to our “digestive fire”.
We can help to ‘burn’ any impurities by turning upside down and practicing slow and deep breathing as part of yoga.
Inversion yoga poses can improve circulation. This is an obvious and more common benefit.
While inversion postures can have many health advantages, their effectiveness depends on how comfortable they are able to maintain these difficult positions. Headstand and shoulder stand should not be attempted by pregnant women, people with neck pain, high blood pressure, neck injuries, or those who are experiencing menstruation. These positions should not be attempted without a proper preparatory posture. A weakened neck or injury could result.
Also, if these postures are difficult or painful, you will get more benefit from the modified versions of them, or just by working on other yoga poses to strengthen these areas.
To get the best out of inversions, there are several prerequisites. The first is a strong, straight neck. The other two are strong abdominal and back muscles and the ability for you to breathe while in the position. You will see improvements in the latter with both yoga and inversions. This can also be tied to a strong back. Our stomach muscles and back will support our legs straightening. This opens up the thoracic cavity which allows us to breath better upside down.
Steps for Inversion Yoga Poses
* Increase the length of your exhale
* Don’t lock your chin
* Don’t place your weight on your head. Instead, keep it on your wrists and elbows.
If you have difficulty with your neck, do not try to pull your legs and torso into the vertical as in full shoulderstand. You’re putting more pressure on your neck by doing this.
* You should balance properly after you have completed these poses. These include shalabhasana, bhujangasana.
* Keep your elbows and arms straight. If you don’t know how to do this, you will be creating more tension in your neck.
* Use the proper balancing positions. These are the exact same as for half-shoulderstand.
* Do not make any adjustments while you are in headstand. If you feel that your alignment is not right, go down and do it again.
* This position should never be done first, or without the prerequisite positions. It can cause stiffness in your neck and injury. These negative effects can become more severe over time. This position is not done without proper preparation.
* A wall can be used as support for learning.
* Support your head with all your fingers, including your thumbs.
* The best place for your head is to ensure weight distribution evenly.
* Imagine the support for the entire body being evenly distributed across both elbows as well as the head.
* Don’t place your weight too heavily on the back. It will cause too much pressure to your neck.
* Avoid props that permit the neck to move. It will result in the neck muscles contracting
* Balance in the following positions. Mohan recommends that you use half shoulderstand, instead of the traditional shoulderstand.
However, you should rest your neck before performing the balancing positions. Lay down on your back with your legs bent.
* Other balancing positions include chakravakasana (with the arms crossed), dvipada pitham, and shalabhasana.
You may have fears about inversion poses and feel limited. It’s better to take it slow when you start an asana. There are a few variations to the shoulder stand that can be used to increase strength, flexibility, and overcome fears about your ability to perform it.
Positive psychological effects can result from overcoming your fear and finally being able do a difficult pose you never thought possible. If we believe that our fears do not hold us back, and that we can conquer our limitations, then we will be able to make improvements in other areas of life that we had previously thought impossible.