An inversion is typically classified as any posture where our pelvis is elevated above our head. Inversions are powerful physical and energetic yoga practices with their roots in the practical, theoretical, and esoteric teachings of yoga.
On a practical level, the regular practice of inversions has been proven to offer many health benefits. There are four major systems within the body that the regular practice of inversions positively influences: cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine.
On a theoretical level, an important concept in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, offers that many of the body’s impurities reside in the lower abdomen. When we elevate our pelvis above our head in inverted postures, gravity assists us in moving these toxins towards what Ayurveda calls our inner agni (fire). In this case agni refers to our “digestive fire” which is located above the lower abdomen and is said to kindle all of our biological processes.
On an esoteric level, one of the oldest surviving classical Sanskrit manuals, the “Haṭhayoga Pradīpikā” classifies the headstand, shoulderstand, and other related inverted postures under “Viparita Karani” (viparita = inverted, karani = process). According to the Author, Swami Swatmarama, Viparita Karani is considered one of ten sacred mudras (energetic seals) that “conquer old age and death.” However, this requires a daily practice of Viparita Karani Mudra for three hours!
Learn more about inversions, their benefits, and how to integrate them into your practice on July 11th at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill. All levels welcome.
What are your stumbling blocks in and questions about Inverted Poses?
Posted by: Maygen McGrew