Inversion Yoga Poses

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 23/01/2024

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be upside down? To see the world from a different perspective, to challenge your balance and coordination, to defy gravity and feel lighter than air?

If you have, then you might want to try inversion yoga poses.

Inversion or inverted yoga poses are any poses that place your head below your heart, reversing the normal direction of blood flow and oxygen in your body.

They can range from simple and gentle poses, such as legs-up-the-wall or child’s pose, to more advanced and challenging poses, such as headstand or shoulder stand.

Inversion yoga poses are not only fun and exhilarating, but they also offer many benefits for your health and well-being. Let’s learn about them in detail.

Contraindications of Inversion Yoga Poses

Before we dive into inverted asanas' names and procedures, let’s take a moment to review some necessary safety precautions and contraindications of inversion yoga poses.

You should avoid inversion handstand yoga asana if you have any of the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure

  • Glaucoma or other eye problems

  • Neck injury or pain

  • Heart disease or stroke

  • Pregnancy

  • Menstruation

  • Ear infection or sinusitis

Also, remember that there are no inverted postures for hernia or acid reflux, so avoid it when dealing with such conditions.

Different Types of Inversion Yoga Poses

The most common inversion asanas are

Legs-up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

This is the most relaxing inverted yoga pose, ideal for beginners and those who need a gentle stretch and a restful break.

Here are the steps.

  • Lie on your back near the wall, with your hips close to the wall and your legs extended on the floor.

  • Raise your legs and position them against the wall, creating a right angle with your body. Find a distance from the wall that feels comfortable for you.

  • If you use a bolster or a pillow, slide it under your hips and lower back for extra support and elevation.

  • Ease your arms down by your sides or rest them on your belly or chest. You can also stretch them over your head for a deeper shoulder stretch.

  • Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Continue in this posture for 5 to 15 minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It relieves stress, tension, and swelling in the legs.

  • It improves digestion and blood flow.

  • It calms the mind and the nervous system.

  • It can also help with menstrual cramps and varicose veins.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This inverted yoga pose is good to practise if you need a break or a transition between other poses.

Here are the steps.

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hip-width apart and your toes touching. Sit back on your heels and relax your shoulders.

  • Fold onward from your hips and draw your forehead to the floor, blanket, or block. Extend your arms in front of you or by your sides, palms facing down.

  • Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the stretch in your back and hips. Continue in this posture for 1 to 5 minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It releases tension and stiffness in the thighs, hips, shoulders, and neck areas.

  • It relaxes the nervous system and the mind

  • It can also help with digestion, blood pressure, and respiratory problems.

Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

  • This is a classic inversion asanas that you can do as a warm-up, a cool-down, or a transition between other poses.

Here are the steps.

  • Stand on your mat, keeping your feet hip-width apart, and point your toes forward. Engage your core and lengthen your spine.

  • Bend at your hips and lean forward, bringing your chest towards your thighs and reaching your hands towards the floor or blocks. Keep a slight bend in your knees if you need to.

**Relax your head and neck, and let gravity do the work. Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the stretch in your back and legs. Continue in this posture for 30 to 60 seconds or as long as you find it comfortable.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It lengthens the hamstrings and calves

  • It decompresses the spine

  • It stimulates the abdominal organs

  • It can also calm the mind and the nervous system

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This is a versatile inverted yoga asana you can do. It is often used as a resting or transitional pose between other poses but can also be a pose on its own.

Here are the steps.

Start by placing yourself on all fours on your yoga mat. Ensure your hands are in line with your shoulders and your knees are aligned with your hips. Spread your fingers widely and firmly press your palms onto the mat.

  • Begin by curling your toes under and raising your hips upward and backward, straightening your legs and arms. Your body should now create an upside-down V shape, with your ears in line with your upper arms.

  • Move your chest closer to your thighs and aim to bring your heels down towards the floor. Keep your neck relaxed and your gaze between your legs or at your navel.

  • Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the stretch and strength in your whole body. Continue in this posture for 1 to 3 minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It strengthens the arms and shoulders

  • It stretches the back and legs

  • It energises the body, boosting the oxygen and bloodstream to the brain, the heart, and the muscles.

  • It helps with anxiety and insomnia.

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)

This variation of Downward-Facing Dog involves placing your forearms on the floor instead of your palms.

Here are the steps.

  • Begin on your mat with hands and knees positioned shoulder-width and hip-width apart, respectively. If you have a strap, wrap it around your upper arms, just above your elbows, ensuring it is snug but not overly tight.

  • Gently lower your forearms to the mat, ensuring your joints are beneath your shoulders and your forearms run parallel to each other. Press your palms firmly onto the floor or interlace your fingers together.

  • Curl your toes under, raising your hips upward and backwards, straightening your legs and arms. Aim for your body to create an upside-down V shape, aligning your ears with your upper arms.

  • Guide your chest towards your thighs while gently lowering your heels towards the floor. Keep your neck relaxed, and direct your gaze between your legs or towards your navel. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, embracing the strength and stretch in your body.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It opens your chest and shoulders

  • It tones your core

  • It can also help with anxiety and insomnia

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This is a mild inversion pose. Here are the steps.

  • Lie on the mat with feet flat and knees bent, hip-width apart. Keep heels near your buttocks and relax your arms by your sides with fists facing down.

  • Press feet and arms into the base, raising hips and chest to form a bridge. Ensure thighs and feet are parallel, and keep your chin away from your chest.

  • If you use a block, slide it under your sacrum and rest your hips on it. This will make the pose more relaxing and supportive.

  • Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the stretch and lift in your body.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It reverses the blood flow.

  • It expands the chest and lungs

  • It stimulates the thyroid

  • It can also help with back pain, insomnia, headaches, and menstrual cramps.

Plow Pose (Halasana)

This is a moderate inversion pose.

Here are the steps.

  • Lie on your back with your legs lengthened, arms by your sides, and palms down. For added comfort, use a blanket under your shoulders and neck.

  • Press arms and palms into the floor, lifting legs toward the ceiling. Engage your core and use abdominal muscles to raise your lower back off the floor.

  • Gently lower your legs over your head, keeping them straight or slightly bent. Aim to reach the floor behind you with your toes, or get as close as possible. Use your hands to support your lower back if your toes don't touch.

  • Keep your chin away from your chest and your neck relaxed. Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the stretch and compression in your body.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It stretches the spine and neck

  • It massages the abdominal organs

  • It activates the parasympathetic mode of relaxation and healing.

  • It helps with menstrual cramps and thyroid problems.

Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

This is a more advanced inversion pose.

Here are the steps.

  • Lie on your back with your legs lengthened, arms by your sides, and palms down. For added comfort, use a blanket under your shoulders and neck.

  • Press your arms and palms firmly into the floor, raising your legs towards the ceiling. Engage your core, using abdominal muscles to lift your lower back off the base.

  • Flex your elbows and position your hands near your hips. Keep your elbows under your shoulders and your upper arms parallel to each other. Press your upper arms and shoulders into the floor and lift your hips and legs higher, forming a straight line with your body.

  • Keep your chin away from your chest and your neck relaxed. Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the strength and lift in your body.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It balances the hormones that regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and reproductive function.

  • It boosts immunity, protecting the body from infections and diseases.

  • It improves posture, preventing or reducing back and neck pain.

Headstand (Sirsasana)

  • This is the most challenging and rewarding upside-down yoga pose. Here are the steps.

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hip-width apart and your toes touching. Position forearms on the floor, elbows under shoulders, and forearms parallel. Interlace fingers, forming a cup with your palms.

  • Place the crown of your head on the floor, inside the cup of your palms. Press forearms and palms into the floor, lifting knees and hips up, straightening legs. Adjust the position of your feet until your hips are directly over your shoulders by moving them closer to your elbows.

  • If you are using a wall, place your back against it and lift one leg, bending it at the knee. Press your foot into the wall and lift the other leg up, straightening both legs. If you are not using a wall, lift one leg up, bending it at the knee. Use your core strength and balance to lift the other leg up, straightening both legs.

  • Keep your legs together and your toes pointed. Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the strength and balance in your body.

The benefits of this pose are:

  • It improves cognitive function, memory, and focus.

  • It strengthens the upper body.

Conclusion

The benefits of the inversion yoga pose cannot be overlooked.

However, if you are already dealing with a chronic illness that requires frequent doctor visits, in such a scenario, yoga might not help eliminate the disease. Even if you practice this yoga, you still have to spend a hefty sum on treatment expenses.

One thing that can lower your financial burden is a health insurance plan. Health insurance or medical insurance covers pharmacy bills, OPD costs, daycare expenses, and pre and post-hospitalisation charges. You can get the best health insurance plan by reviewing various plans online and find the one that matches your unique needs.

FAQS

What are inversion poses in yoga?

Inversion poses are yoga poses that place the head below the heart, reversing the normal direction of blood flow and oxygen in the body. They can range from simple poses like Downward-Facing Dog to advanced poses like Headstand.

What are the benefits of head inversion?

Head inversion can increase the blood flow to the brain, improving cognitive function, memory, and focus. It can also strengthen the upper body, enhance concentration, and balance the hormones.

Why are inversions relaxing?

Inversions can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation and healing. They can also lower the blood pressure and the heart rate, calm the mind and the nervous system, and release endorphins.

What are the risks of inversion?

Inversion is not safe for everyone. It can increase blood pressure and decrease the heart rate, which can be dangerous for people with heart or blood pressure problems. It can also put significant pressure on the eyes, worsening eye conditions like glaucoma or detached retina.

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