Practice Journal, Inversions

Fredonia NY October rose (ckg photo)

What is it about being upside down that causes such a rush? Is it the increased blood flow? Is it the heart rest? Is it because Mind rests more easily and fully when the legs are up? Is it more psychological: being upside down forces up to look at the world with a different perspective?

Last night I practiced inversions. Beginning with headstand (sirsasana) where I am still working at moving my legs away from resting upon the wall. This is a years loooong struggle for me.But it took me years to be able to kick up by myself, so the lesson is patience ~ and practice. Being in the unsettled throws of perimenopause, there are many weeks, or months where it is not advisable to practice inversions, so I grow frustrated at my lack of progress. And yet, every breath where my feet are not resting upon the wall I claim as personal victory… over what?  My body or my mind or a bodymind combo that seems intent upon keeping me earthbound when all my heart wants to do is to fly?

Three conscious breaths. That’s all I EVER need. No matter what posture I am inhabiting.

Then I did three pincha mayurasanas without kicking up. You may call these bent arm dogs. An attempt to strengthen my arms for the eventual day when I will be able to kick up! I am resolved to continue the practice, no matter how many years it takes. Then I did one half handstand where the shakes took over and I breathed through them, but then came down into child pose when I felt as if my feet where going to fall off the wall anyway. Can you relate?

Then shoulderstand (sarvangasana) wherein I found a perfect support system ~ ahhh, what joy when the body feels supported and can relax into a pose! I used four blankets folded in quarters and laid one upon the other in a stair step fashion to support my neck and two blankets folded half again laid side by side and angled at one end away from each other making a valley for the neck to drop into with the shoulders supported upon the blankets themselves. A chair placed at the end of my mat provided support for my feet during plough. My back is not feeling particularly strong these days so I scissor kicked one leg at a time down to the chair for ekapada sarvagasana.

I was surprised at the end of the practice that an hour and a half had flown by. All I’d done were four inversions!

A student said today that whenever she practiced legs up the wall, her Mind began to race.  Thanks, but no thanks she said when offered an eye bag. A sandbag placed upon a block with the end resting upon her forehead offered minimal relief. So during this  morning’s class I suggested she try lifting further into an inversion. She is slow and fearful of inversions, so we went for viparita karani with hips supported on a bolster and legs supported as well as ankles belted. Due to persistent hot flashes, we didn’t bother with a blanket tucked around her feet and legs. The set-up did bring her some relief, but we’ll continue working on her moving deeper into inversions. For savasana, I suggested some torso and head support with bolster and blanket.

I’d love to hear how you work inversions into your practice.

Published by


Carolyn's Virtual Home is at Carolyn's Yoga blog BAREFOOTANDUPSIDEDOWN Carolyn's ART can be found at Genealogy blogs: Our Polish Ancestry and Heritage, From Alsace and Bavaria to Buffalo, And Away We Go - the Grady Gray Benedict Hoffman LaForce history, and Stories of Our Ancestors - the Von Hofe Boyce Held Levy families

4 thoughts on “Practice Journal, Inversions”

  1. Carolyn-
    I am really enjoying your recent posts on your practice. Since Christmas, I’ve been attending classes at a nearby studio just about every other day. These are vinyasa flow style, and typically about 80% standing. While I really enjoy the focus and pure physical challenge of this type of practice, when I return to the mat at home, I find myself wanting to spend more time in the poses. This is particularly true of inversions.
    In my home practice I begin with standing poses, follow with floor work, and end with the Ashtanga closing sequence: Sarvangasana (15 breaths), Halasana (8), Karnapidasana (8), Urdhva Padmasana (8), Pindasana (8), Matsyasana (legs still in padmasana, 8), Uttana Padasana (8), and finally Sirsasana (30). This format (standing-seated-inversions) works well for me. Occasionally my practice consists of one long headstand and a few minutes in padmasana.

  2. I recommend a lot of core work to help you with your headstands. The stronger your abs and lower back are, the easier it will be to kick up and support yourself.
    .-= nothingprofound´s last blog .. =-.

  3. Sheila, Good to hear from you! sounds like you are “in the flow” with your practice. Wonderful :-) Thanks for sharing your practice. Wondering if you are doing much yoga nidra these days?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge