Reverse postures such as handstand, crow, but also dog looking down are a real all-rounder. Not only do they have a strengthening effect on your body, but they also positively influence your psyche for more self-confidence and concentration. In addition, these upside down postures are said to have a rejuvenating effect. Through them, amrita -the nectar of immortality - flows into you. Find out what benefits inversion postures have on the body and mind in the following post. It remains exciting!
Personally, I always immediately think of handstand, headstand and forearm stand when I hear the term inversion postures. However, this is too short-sighted. Because, to invite the primary effect of inversion postures into your practice, which is to bring your hips higher than your heart, you don't need a spectacular pose. Even Balasana (child) and ViparitaKarani(legs up the wall) are inversion postures suitable for any level and have a calming effect on your nervous system.
Inverted Postures - Yoga Asanas
Balasana - Child
Adho Mukha Svanasana - The Downward Looking Dog
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana - Dolphin
Vipartia Karani - legs up the wall
Sarvangasana - shoulder stand
Halasana - Plough Pose
Pincha Mayurasana - Forearm Stand
Sirsana - Headstand
Ado Mukha Vrksasana - Handstand
Bakasana - the crow
"Journey to Inversions" Yoga Class with Simon Park
To make inversions at home possible step by step, there is a 13-part "Journey to Inversions" online course with Simon Park for Christmas. You can buy the videos individually or as a complete course and use them as often as you like for 1 year. More info and the first sneak peak can be found on our YouTube channel. It starts from the 24.12. in our online video library.
Physical advantages of inversion postures
Inverted postures not only strengthen your body because they use a significant part of your muscles and thus activate your body tension (headstand, shoulder stand, handstand, forearm stand), but above all have a harmonizing effect on internal processes of your body. They stimulate the blood circulation in your brain, can improve your digestion, relieve your cardiovascular system and improve the circulation in your body, which also stimulates the lymphatic system.
Blood circulation of your brain/ relief of cardiovascular system
Inverted postures allow the blood in your body to not have to flow into your head against gravity. This relieves the heart, as it can send the oxygenated blood to your brain with less effort. This increased blood supply to your brain promotes your concentration and can, especially in the so-called afternoon low, lead to the fact that you get more energy again.
When you stand on your head, the pineal gland in your brain is also stimulated. This is responsible for the conversion of the serotonin formed during the day into melatonin. Serotonin is known as the happiness hormone because it has a relaxing and mood-enhancing effect. Melatonin controls the wake-sleep rhythm. However, it not only ensures a restful sleep, but also helps your body to regenerate during sleep. It helps to reduce cell damage and thus counteract the physical aging process.
Positive influence on your digestion
Inverted postures change the conventional pressure in your organ space, stimulating your digestive system to get rid of old or pent-up gases.
Balancing effect on the nervous system
Since the legs are naturally the lowest part of your body on a day-to-day basis, water retention and/or blood stasis can form there, possibly causing varicose veins. By shifting your legs upwards, whether in handstand, shoulder stand, headstand or simply Viparita Karani, fluids can be eliminated from your legs. It also improves your circulation as blood is now pumped into your legs against gravity. This stimulation of circulation, also helps to activate the lymphatic system in your body. The lymphatic system is responsible for transporting waste products and draining your tissues. It's your body's dishwasher, so to speak. Lymphatic vessels take in what your cells excrete and transport it away so that this 'waste' can be removed via your detoxification organs (liver/kidneys).
In addition, the lymph contains your body's immune defence system, namely the important white blood cells. In case of illness, these are distributed throughout your body via the lymph nodes. When you 'turn around' you strengthen your lymphatic system, which stimulates the immune system and the removal of waste products in your organism.
Psychological benefits of inversion postures
Besides these strengthening effects on your organism, inversion postures also have a positive influence on your psyche. They are not only fun and promote the joy of play in you, but also help to build confidence, concentration, relaxation and simply adopt a different perspective on conventional ways of looking at things.
With inversion postures like handstand, forearm stand and headstand, it takes courage, patience and practice to stay in these asanas. For me, especially the first handstand and forearm stand attempts were always a real thrill.
By working on these challenging asanas with consistency and dedication in your practice, you can show yourself that you can overcome what feel like insurmountable obstacles. Through regular practice, you can bring this mental strength into other aspects of your life.
(Disclaimer: It is recommended to start with handstand and forearm stand before attempting headstand. Unlike headstand, the risk of injury is lower in handstand and shoulderstand because the cervical spine is unloaded. For the headstand it is extremely important to have good guidance and strong neck and shoulder muscles in order not to risk straining the sensitive vertebrae in the cervical spine).
One of my teachers once said in reference to inversions, "What I love about inversions is that they directly relate to you being present on the mat. Once you are not present in inversions there is something called, not being in the inversion anymore." - elle Connolly. Unlike most asanas, inversion poses don't allow you to trick yourself with your focus. While you can drift off in Warrior II without even realizing it, being unfocused in most inversion poses and even arm balances will cause you to fall out of it. By beginning to dwell on your hands on the mat with full awareness and mindfulness, you can further your concentration in other areas of life as well, inviting more presence into everyday life.
Promotes relaxation of the body
In cooling inversions like Child's Pose or Viparita Karani, the nervous system is calmed and your attention is directed inward. In doing so, these asanas make you feel more at peace within yourself, more balanced and relaxed.
Change the way you look at things
By reversing your perspective, you change the way you look at conventional situations. This can lead you to develop new strategies or even to question your own thought patterns. Because life is usually not as black and white as it may sometimes seem. The world looks completely different upside down and perhaps it is this unconventional view that can help to invite the new into the tried and tested.
Amrita - "The Nectar of Immortality"
This last aspect of inverted postures applies especially to the headstand. In this you stand, supported or if you are very advanced free, directly on the crown of your head. This corresponds energetically with your 7th chakra. The 7th chakra, Sahasrara, symbolizes your connection to the divine, the unity consciousness, or your being integrated into the universe. It is said that Sahasrara holds the nectar of immortality, which, when activated, flows naturally through your body and helps you to live a long, balanced life.
If you now want to try inversion postures yourself or deepen your knowledge, you can have a little sneak-peak on Simon's inversion course here. Or you can practice a round of Bakasana (crow) and handstand with him.
Book the Journey to Inversions now!
Written by Sinah Diepold and Raphaela Baumgartner.