Headstand (Sirasana) and Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) are often referred to as the king and queen of all yoga poses because of their importance in a yoga practice. However there are many other inverted yoga poses that can provide the same benefits and which are more easily achieved then the poses mentioned above. Essentially an inverted yoga pose or inversion is a pose in which the head is lower than the heart.
Here is a list of some inverted yoga poses:
- Legs up the wall
Ardho Mukha Svanasana
- Downward facing dog
- Hare ( Rabbit) pose
- Wide-legged forward fold
Other inversions (not usually for beginners) include:
- Plough pose.
- Ear pressure pose
- Inverted lotus pose
- Upward staff pose
Adho Mukha Vrkasana
- Hand stand
- Forearm balance
Regardless of the style or level of your yoga practice, inverted yoga poses have great benefits.
Here are 10 benefits of Inverted Yoga Poses:
1. By reversing the flow of gravity, a inverted yoga poses can simulate a “face lift” by letting your skin hang in the opposite direction.Especially true for headstand. The inverted position also flushes fresh nutrients and oxygen to the face, creating a glowing effect on the skin.
2. Inversions increase nutrients and blood flow to the scalp, decreasing onset of grey hair. Some yogis say that it will even convert grey hair back to its natural color!
3. Inversions stimulate and provide refreshed blood to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. These glands are vital to our wellbeing, and are considered the master glands that regulate all other glands in the body (thyroid, pineal, and adrenals). This includes our sexual hormones.
4. When the adrenal glands are flushed and detoxified with inversions, we create more positive thought. Depression will decrease, as going upside down will almost always put a smile on your face.
5. Improved circulation occurs with practicing inverted yoga poses. Because the heart constantly has to pump blood upward to the brain, the inversion gives the heart a rest and reduces unnecessary strain. In addition, while in an inverted yoga pose de-oxygenated blood is able to flow more easily from the extremities to the heart.
6. Any fluid that is retained in the feet is able to drain (edema), therefore reducing the onset and prevalence of varicose veins.
7. Inversions increase digestive fire and increase body heat. The intestines are cleansed by reversing the pull of gravity, while releasing congested blood in the colon.
8. Some inversions like Headstand, shoulderstand and forearm balance strengthen deep core muscles. To hold a straight headstand for an extended period of time, the practitioner must engage the obliques, the rectus abdominus and the transverse abdominus.
9. Inversions also can eliminate your chances of having an ischemic stroke, as scientific evidence shows that this type of stroke rarely occurs in individuals that consistently do inversions, specifically headstands!
10. It’s also really great to bust out a headstand at a party. Your peers will be impressed!
Doing inversions and spending some time upside down everyday is one of the best things you could possibly do for yourself. Inversions are basically an elixir of life.Inversion will also give you a whole new perspective on life and give you the chance to view things from a different angle.
Inverted yoga poses can be contraindicative if you have neck injuries, extremely high blood pressure, ear and eye problems, if you are menstruating, or have acid reflux. It is best to consult your doctor before practicing inversions. Pregnant women should also get the okay to practice inversions from their doctor.It is recommended to learn inversions, especially headstand, shoulderstand, handstand and forearm balance from a qualified teacher.