Inversions Love them or hate them?

Everyone has an opinion on Inversions and some people love them some avoid them at all costs. For me it is a timing thing.

Most of the time I really enjoy an inversion, It feels like playtime for me. I often kick up into a headstand if I have lots of nervous energy racing around me that I don’t know what to do with. But also when I know I am sluggish and I just have to get going (often before I teach a class) I will do a handstand and I find it really energizes me.

Inversions turn your view of the world upside down!


The Benefits: There are so many – but here are just a few I experience
  • Circulation to your head, neck, shoulders improved
  • Rejuvenation to the skin on your face
  • They can make you feel happy
  • They can calm the nervous system
  • Headstands and handstands are energizing
  • Shoulderstands are calming and soothing and can aid sleep and anxiety
When to Avoid:
  • Pregnancy – There are different schools of thoughts on this – I was led to believe that if you have always practiced inversions then just carry on when you are pregnant and it will be fine. However in my experience after doing a headstand when I was in my first trimester with my first child – I felt really bad and I really did not want to do that again. I believe that when you are pregnant the type of yoga that is beneficial for your body and your growing baby is a much more gentle kind. Softening, opening, nurturing yin style yoga asanas. Save the yang, strong asanas for after that special time.
  • Moon Days (menstrual cycles) Again there are differing opinion on this too – but I think its best to wait until after. The body’s energy system is working with the Apana energy – the downward motion, clearing, letting go. So spinning yourself upside down can be counter productive at this time. Again there are great different Asanas which may be best practiced at this time.
  • Pain – if you have pain in your head, neck, back or shoulders avoid these.
How to improve your inversions:
  • Core- it is really useful to have strong core muscles to hold the well aligned inversions. So Falikasana (plank or half plank with the knees down) Abdominal crunches, cylcles etc will all help
  • Arm strength – it is essential to support yourself with your arms in headstand so that your are not pressing far too much weight onto your neck. Forearm dog or what I call Dophin Dips are really good for building up the arms and shoulders. Vasistasana
  • Practice working with the Bhandas. The Subtle energy locks can be so helpful – Mula Bhanda engaging the pelvic floor but also uddiyana Bhanda – the tummy lock – where you engage you internal tummy muscles can really help to keep
  • Practice doing them against a wall and then just playing with removing yourself form the wall – when you get better at using the wall – have it there but use it less – so being really mindful of what muscles your working and how much the wall is supporting.
456598_cd183e0991384fb489dc6a012cbfd378Keep trying a few and having that play. Start off with Shoulderstand or simply put your legs up the wall for the restorative version, making sure you get as close into the wall as possible. It’s a great stretch for tight hamstrings particularly if you flex your feet. To move from here into a headstand bend your knees so that your feet are hip distance apart and pressed flat into the wall. Then lift up your hips – place your hands to the back of your pelvis and walk your elbows in so that they are shoulder distance apart. Really work here at the alignemt of the hips over shoulders and and nice straight back. Then rather than kicking into it you can remove one foot and stack that foot over your hip- then switch or if all is going really well take both feet from wall stacking feet over hips – hips over shoulders. Remember your arms are supporting so you should not feel any discomfort in your neck. Don’t move your head from side to side. To come down try reversing the process and uncurl your spine 1 vertebra at a time.

Counter pose – Fish on March the 5th wih Dan Peppiatt and its open to all levels – so bring your mat and your sense of humour and lets play.

Lie flat on the floor with your legs straight and slide your hands underneath your buttocks – push your elbows into the floor and lift the chin. Keep the tummy engaged and work with your arms. Again if uncomfortable don’t continue.

We are all put together differently and some poses work better of some people – but it is good to explore an challenge yourself to get better at each pose.

I always find when people start doing handstands with the aid of a partner they feel so pleased with them selves once they have got lift off.

It is great to be taught safe ways of doing things in a class and then take home your tips and practice lots.

We have a special workshop focusing on inversions on March the 5th with Dan Peppiatt and its open to all levels – so bring your mat and your sense of humour and lets play.


Comments