Monday, 7 April 2014

Seven Benefits of Inverted Poses

Tara Woltjen in Downward Dog
Inversions are perhaps the most seductive, the most dramatic, and the most intimidating of all the Yoga asanas. 

Ask someone to turn their body upside down, and you will often see an array of emotions like doubt, fear and aversion arise.

Surprisingly, in difficult times, these postures can help us to shift and regain perspective, to literally get back on our feet. 

Of course, extreme inversions are not for every body! 

If you have a neck or eye problem, high blood pressure, heart problems etc. that make it difficult or dangerous to put your head below the level of your heart for extended periods or even for a few moments, please heed your own inner wisdom and the advice of your health professional.

That said, there are inversions to suit students of all levels of strength and experience. 

When in doubt, and especially in times of physical, mental or emotional distress, choose an easy, comfortable posture and see how it feels before attempting more a challenging version.

Here are a few examples:

Gentle:  Shavasana, the Corpse Pose with legs up the wall, Child's Pose, Paschimottanasana, the Seated Forward Bend and the Inclined Plane

And here are just a few of the benefits of inverted Yoga poses:

1) Inverted asanas give your heart a rest as gravity helps to return venous blood to the heart.

2) They bring a rich supply of nutrients to the brain, spine and nervous system, rejuvenating the whole body.

3) They improve memory, focus, concentration, intellectual capacity and sharpen the senses. 

4) They relieve physical and mental lethargy and sluggishness.

5) They can help transform sexual energy into spiritual Shakti.

6) Improve circulation, relieve varicose veins and swollen legs.

7) Boost your mood by nourishing poise, balance and confidence.

According the Yoga Tatwa Upanishad, Shirshasana, the Headstand, known as the "King of Asanas" can even help you conquer time!  So the next time your world is feeling topsy turvy, try turning your body upside down.  Things might just look alright again!

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