why Inverted Asanas is the best asana

By on May 6, 2015
inverted asanas

INVERTED ASANAS

This important group of asanas must be performed correctly and under the right circumstances. If not, they will be of little or no benefit and can even cause harm to the practitioner.

Inverted asanas encourage a rich supply of blood to flow to the brain, nourishing the millions of neurons and flushing out the toxins that accumulate there. Thus the controlling center of the body is encouraged to work more effectively. As a consequence, all the organs, muscles, nerves, etc., function nearer to their optimum capacity. The mental power, concentration and ability to sustain large amounts of work without strain are improved. Anxiety, stress and neurosis are reduced if not removed. The enriched blood flow to the brain also allows the pituitary, the master gland of the endocrine system, to operate more efficiently. This has a positive influence on the personality, the way of thinking and the body processes.

Blood that tends to accumulate in the lower limbs and the abdomen is drained back to the heart. Then it is circulated to the lungs, purified and re-circulated to all parts of the body, providing nourishment to the cells of the entire human organism.

During inverted asanas the respiration becomes slow and deep. This maximizes the expulsion of carbon dioxide and the intake of oxygen. Most people unknowingly starve their bodies of oxygen by incorrect breathing: short, shallow inhalations and exhalations which neither supply the lungs with enough air, nor expel the accumulated stale air. Inverted asanas encourage correct respiration and allow the lungs to function as they should, bringing noticeable benefits to the practitioner.

 

RULES FOR PRACTICING INVERTED ASANAS

As already mentioned these asanas are very important and must be practiced with adequate care paying proper attention to the basic rules listed below:

  • Do not practice inverted asanas until at least three hours after taking food.
  • Do not perform any inverted asanas immediately after vigorous exercise. Wait for half an hour to allow the body to remove the waste products of muscular metabolism from the blood.
  • People with illnesses that tend to make the blood impure should not do inverted asanas until their blood becomes reasonably pure. Those people who are uncertain about the purity of their blood should seek the advice of a yoga teacher or doctor.
  • Do not practice these asanas if you have spinal prob­lems, especially a slipped disc.
  • Do not practice these asnas near furniture or anything that might impede a free fall to the ground. During either a backward or forward
  • fall the practitioner must sus­tain the force of the fall with the feet.
  • While falling, the body should be completely relaxed, never tense.
  • Beginners should only remain in the final pose for a few seconds.
  • When they can successfully maintain the position without the slightest difficulty, the time can be increased by a few seconds daily until the final pose is maintained for the period of time recommended for each asana.
  • In case of any discomfort, discontinue the practice. Do not repeat it at that particular time.
  • Always practice these poses on a folded blanket thick enough to protect the neck and head; never practice on a mattress, spring bed or air cushion.
  • Assume the postures slowly and gently.
  • Always follow inverted asanas by shavasana and rest until the breath and heartbeat are completely normal.

 

BHUMI PADA MASTAKASANA

BHUMI PADA MASTAKASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-102: Bhumi pada mastakasana (The half headstand pose)

  • Assume the posture for marjariasana (the cat pose).
  • Place the crown of the head on the ground between the hands.
  • Raise the knees and hips and balance on the head and feet.
  • Raise the arms and clasp the hands behind the back.
  • Hold for as long as is comfortable.
  • Replace the hands, lower the knees and return to the cat pose.
  • This process can be repeated.

Important point-
Place sufficient soft padding beneath the head.
Breathing-
Practice with normal breathing.
Concentration-
On respiration, the brain or balance.
Sequence-
Follow this asana with tadasana, its counter pose.
Limitations-
Not recommended for persons with high blood pressure or vertigo.
Benefits-

  • This asana helps in cases of low blood pressure.
  • It develops nervous balance, strengthens the head and neck muscles and supplies blood to the brain.
  • It is a preliminary pose for sirshasana.

 

MOORDHASANA

MOORDHASANA

 

 

Exercise-103: Moordhasana (The crown-based pose)

  • Stand erect with your feet 3 to 4 feet apart.
  • Bend the body at the hips and place the hands directly in front of the feet (stage 1).
  • Place the crown of the head on the ground between the hands.
  • Raise the arms and clasp the hands behind the back.
  • Raise the heels and balance on the head and toes (stage 2).
  • Maintain this pose up to 1 minute and then replace the hands on the ground.
  • Raise the head and return to the erect position.
  • After a short rest, repeat 2 or 3 times.

Breathing-

  • Retain the breath inside while assuming and returning from the pose.
  • Practice normal breathing once balance has been attained.

Concentration-
On respiration and balance.
Limitations-
Not to be performed by persons suffering from high blood pressure or vertigo.
Benefits-

  • This asana brings a rich supply of blood to the brain.
  • It is a preliminary pose for sirshasana, as it enables the brain to adapt to the influx of blood while the crown become accustomed to
  • supporting the weight of the body.

 

SIRSHASANA

SIRSHASANA

 

Sirshasana (the headstand pose)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-104: Sirshasana (the headstand pose)

  • Sit in vajrasana.
  • Bend forward and place the forearms on the ground with fingers inter-twined and the elbows in front of the knees.
  • Place the crown of the head between the inter-twined hands (stage 1).
  • Be sure it is tightly wedged in, so that it cannot roll backward when pressure is applied.
  • Lift the knees off the ground and raise the hips until the legs are straight (stage 2).
  • Slowly fold the legs toward the trunk and allow the knees to bend so that the back is upright and the thighs press against the abdomen and lower chest.
  • Slowly transfer the bodyweight from the toes onto the head and arms, and raise one foot a few inches off the ground.
  • Raise the other foot and balance on the head and arms (stage 3).
  • When balanced, raise and straighten the hips so that the thighs move up and away from the torso (stages 4 and 5).
  • Straighten the legs.
  • The body should be perfectly straight in the final pose. It is helpful if
  • someone checks the position and tells you if this is so.
  • Hold this pose for some time, then slowly refold the legs and lower the toes gently to the ground.

Breathing-

  • Retain the breath inside when assuming and returning from sirshasana.
  • Breathe normally in the final pose.
  • The breath should become increasingly subtle in this posture as one becomes accustomed to it.

Duration

  • Sirshasana can be practised by experts for periods of up to 30 minutes.
  • Beginners should start with 30 seconds and add 1 minute a week until the desired period is reached.
  • For general health benefits 3 to 5 minutes in the final pose is sufficient.

Concentration-
On the brain, respiration or balance.
Sequence-

  • Beginners should practice sirshasana at the end of a series followed only by tadasana, its counter pose, and then shavasana.
  • Advanced practitioners can practice it either at the beginning or the end of a series.

Instructions listed in the introduction to inverted poses must be strictly followed.
Limitations-

  • Sirshasana should not be practiced by persons with high blood pressure, vertigo, heart palpitations, thrombosis, chronic catarrh, chronic constipation, any condition of impure blood or severe near sighted­ness.
  • It should not be attempted until one has perfected the preliminary head-based poses.

Benefits-

  • Sirshasana increases the blood flow to the brain and pituitary (master control gland) which helps to rectify many forms of nervous and glandular disorders, especially those related to the reproductive system.
  • It reverses the upward return flow of blood in the leg and visceral regions, which aids tissue rebuilding.
  • It removes psychological disturbances, and relieves headaches, asthma, hay fever, lack of energy, etc.
  • It is the greatest of all asanas as it totally revitalizes the mind and body.

 

SALAMBA SIRSHASANA

SALAMBA SIRSHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-105: Salamba sirshasana (The supported headstand pose)

  • Assume marjariasana (the cat pose).
  • Place the crown of the head on the ground between the hands.
  • Move the hands back to the sides of the knees.
  • Raise the knees and move the feet forward until the thighs are near the chest.
  • Transfer the body weight from the feet to the head and hands.
  • Slowly raise one foot first then the other.
  • Raise the legs and straighten the knees so that the body is fully erect.
  • Remain for a comfortable period of time and then slowly descend.

Breathing-

  • Retain your breath inside while assuming the asana and while descending.
  • Breathe normally in the final pose.

 

 

All other details are as given for sirshasana.
NIRALAMBA SIRSHASANA

NIRALAMBA SIRSHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-106: Niralamba sirshasana (The unsupported headstand pose)
This is the same as salamba sirshasana except the arms are stretched forward and kept straight throughout. Padma niralamba sirshasana (The unsupported headstand lotus pose)

  • Assume padmasana, the lotus pose.
  • Place the hands in front of the knees and stand on the knees.
  • Place the head on the ground between the hands and slide the arms into the space under the legs with palms downward and elbows straight.
  • Draw the legs up to the chest, using the arms as rails. Straighten the hips and raise the legs.

All other details are as given for sirshasana.

 

ORDHAWA PADAMASANA

ORDHAWA PADAMASANA

 

Exercise-107: Ordhwa padmasana (the headstand lotus pose)

  • Perform sirshasana.
    While in sirshasana slowly fold the legs into pad­masana.
    Remain in this pose for some time then straighten the legs.
    Return to the ground as described for sirshasana.

Important points-
Do not try this asana until you can perform sirshasana without difficulty. In this pose any fall to the floor can cause serious injury.
All other details are the same as for sirshasana.

 

KAPALI ASANA

KAPALI ASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-108: Kapali asana (The forehead-supported pose)

  • Assume sirshasana, the headstand pose.
  • Shift the angle of the head and balance on the forehead.
  • Return to sirshasana before coming down.

Variations- Variation-1
Bend the right knee and put the sole of the right foot on the front of the left thigh. The right knee should point forward.
Variation-2
Bend the left knee and touch the hips with the left heel. Bend forward at the hips and bring the right knee to the chest.
All other details as for sirshasana.
SARVANGASANA

SARVANGASANA

Exercise-109:Sarvangasana (The shoulder stand pose)

  • Lie flat on the back with feet together, arms by the sides and palms flat on the ground.
  • Using the arms as levers raise the legs and back to a vertical position.
    Bend the elbows and use the arms as props to steady the back by
  • pressing it with the palms.
  • The trunk and legs should extend straight up, forming a right angle with the neck, the chest pressing against the chin.

Variations-
Variation-1

  • Bend the right knee and place the right foot on the left thigh.
  • Bend the hips forward and place the right knee on the forehead.
  • Remove the right foot from the left thigh.
  • Fold the left leg and bring its knee to the forehead.

Variation-2
From sarvangasana, bend the hips forward and bring the legs to a horizontal position over the head.
Breathing-

Retain inside while assuming and returning from this asana.
Practice normal breathing when the body is steady in the raised position.

Duration-

  • Advanced practitioners can practice up to 15 minutes.
  • Beginners should practice for a new seconds and add a few seconds daily.
  • For general health benefits 3 to 5 minutes are adequate.

Concentration-
On the thyroid gland or respiration.
Sequence

  • Sarvangasana is ideally practiced immediately before halasana.
  • The counter pose can be matsyasana, ushtrasana or supta vajrasana, practiced for half the combined duration of sarvangasana and halasana.

Limitations-
Not for sufferers of enlarged thyroid, liver or spleen, high blood pressure or heart ailments.
Benefits-

  • This asana stimulates the thyroid gland and thereby improves the balance of the circulatory, digestive, reproductive, nervous and glandular systems.
  • It adjusts improper body growth and clears psycho­logical disturbances by bringing a rich supply of blood to the brain.
  • It relieves asthma, bronchitis and elephantiasis’s.
  • It releases the normal gravitational pressure from the anal muscles, relieving hemorrhoids (piles).
  • It tones the legs, abdomen, the female reproductive organs, spine and neck.
  • It inhibits hydrocele and eliminates waistline fat.
  • Leucorrhea and diabetes can be remedied.
  • Mastery of this asana gives conscious control over body temperature.

 

VIPAREETA KARANI MUDRA

VIPAREETA KARANI MUDRA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-110: Vipareeta karani mudra (The inverted attitude)

  • The method is the same as for sarvangasana, except the chin is not pressed against the chest in the final pose.
  • The trunk is held at a 45 degree angle to the ground instead of at a right angle.

Important Points-

  • This asana is very similar to sarvangasana in all respects.
    It is easier and is recommended for beginners and persons with a stiff neck who are unable to perform sarvangasana.
  • This posture is also used in kriya yoga.

All other details as given for sarvangasana.

 

PADMA SARVANGASANA

PADMA SARVANGASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-111: Padma sarvangasana (The shoulder stand lotus pose)

  • Perform sarvangasana.
  • In the final position fold the legs into padmasana.

Variation-

  • Perform padmasana.
  • Lean backward and lie flat on the back.
  • Raise the folded legs as in sarvangasana.
  • Remain in the final position for some time and then return to the starting position by reversing the same process.

 

POORWA HALASANA

POORWA HALASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Execise-112: Poorwa halasana (The preliminary plough pose)

  • Lie flat on the back with the fists under the hips.
  • The legs should be stretched with the weight of the hips on the fists.
    Raise the legs to a vertical position.
  • Bring them over the head so that they are on a 45 degree incline.
  • Separate the legs as much as possible.
  • Bring them together again, and slowly return to the supine position.
  • Practice a maximum of 10 times.

Breathing-

  • Inhale while in supine position.
  • Retain while raising, separating and lowering the legs.
  • Exhale when again in supine position.

Concentration-
On thyroid gland, abdomen or respiration.
Sequence
Follow this asana by a backward bending counter pose.
Limitations-
This asana should not be performed by old or infirm practitioners or persons with sciatica or slipped disc.
Benefits-
This asana stretches the pelvis, regulates the kidneys, activities the intestines and removes fat deposits. It should be mastered before one attempts halasana.

 

HALASANA

HALASANA

 

Exercise-113: Halasana (The plough pose)

  • Lie flat on the back with the arms straight and beside the body, palms facing downward.
  • Keeping the legs straight, slowly raise them to the vertical position above the body.
  • Only use the stomach muscles to raise the legs. Do not use the arms.
    Simultaneously bend the trunk upward, hips first.
  • Slowly lower the legs over the head and touch the floor with the toes of both feet.
  • Keep the legs straight, bend the arms and place the hands on the back as in sarvangasana.
  • Relax the body.
  • Remain in the final pose for a comfortable period of time.
  • Then either return to the starting position or perform the following additions to the basic pose:

Additions-

  1. Move the feet away from the head until the body is completely stretched and a tight chin lock occurs.
  2. Move the feet towards the head until the back is fully tensed. Keep the legs straight and directly above the head. Grasp the feet with the fingers.

Maintain these poses for a comfortable length of time, then return to the final pose of basic halasana.

Breathing-

  • Retain inside while assuming and returning from the pose.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply in the final pose.

Duration-

  • Adepts can hold the final pose of halasana and the two additional stages for more than 10 minutes each.
  • Beginners should hold each pose for 15 seconds during the first week of practice, doing each in rota­tion up to 4 times and adding 15 seconds every week until each pose is held for 1 minute.

Concentration-
On the abdomen, relaxation of the back muscles, respiration or the thyroid gland.
Sequence-

  1. If possible perform halasana immediately after sarvangasana.
  2. Follow halasana by matsyasana, ushtrasana or supta vajrasana, practiced for half of the combined duration of sarvangasana and halasana.

Precautions-
Beginners should not do poorwa halasana until their back muscles become flexible.
Limitations-
Not for old and infirm people, sufferers of sciatica and other back ailments, or high blood pressure.
Benefits-

  • Adjusts the functioning of the abdominal organs, especially the kidneys, liver and pancreas.
  • Activates digestion, relieves constipation and removes fat from the waist.
  • Beneficially influences all the visceral organs.
  • Regulates the activities of the thyroid, thereby balancing all the body’s metabolic rates.
  • Helps to remedy diabetes, eliminate piles, loosen the vertebrae and tone the spinal nerves.

 

DRUTA HALASANA

DRUTA HALASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-114: Druta halasana (The dynamic plough pose)

  • Lie on the back with the arms straight and the shoulders relaxed.
    Roll the legs quickly over the head and touch the toes to the floor behind the head.
  • Roll rapidly back to the supine position and immediately bend forward into paschimottanasana.
  • Keep the legs straight and try to touch the knees with the forehead. Resume the seated pose and repeat with an even, flowing motion.
    Practice up to 10 times.

Breathing-

  • Inhale deeply and exhale fully before starting.
  • Retain outside while rolling.
  • Inhale when stationary.

Sequence-
Follow this asana with a backward bending pose.
Precautions-
Be careful not to strain any muscles or the lungs.
Limitations-
This asana is not to be practiced by old or infirm people, sufferers of sciatica, or beginners.
Benefits-

  • This asana tones the kidneys and supra-renal glands, activates
  • intestinal peristalsis, facilitates the breakdown of fats by exercising the liver and gall bladder, and stretches the pelvic region.
  • It improves digestion and removes constipation.

 

ARDHA PADMA HALASANA

ARDHA PADMA HALASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-115: Ardha padma halasana (The half lotus plough pose)

  • Sit with one leg stretched forward and the other leg in the half lotus position.
  • Place the hands beside the thighs.
  • Push down with the hands and roll backwards.
  • The straight leg will go over the head and the toes will touch the ground.
  • Roll back to the seated position.
  • Without breaking the continuity of movement, bend the body at the waist and bring the nose down to the straight knee.
  • Grasp the toes with both hands.
  • Raise the torso and resume the original upright position.
  • Practice a maximum of 5 times with each leg folded.

Breathing-

  • Inhale deeply and exhale fully before rolling.

Inhale again when seated.
Sequence
Follow this by a backward bending counter pose.
Precautions
Be careful not to strain the back or leg muscles. Take care not to hit the back of the head on the floor.
Limitations
Not for old or infirm persons, or those who suffer from sciatica, slipped disc or high blood pressure.
Benefits
Stretches the pelvis, regulates the kidneys, activates the intestines and removes fat deposits.

 

STAMBHAN ASANA

STAMBHAN ASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-116: Stambhan asana (The posture of retention)

  • This asana is practiced by two persons together. Both lie on their backs with the crown of their heads in contact.
  • They stretch both arms sideways and hold each others’ hands at arms length.
  • The arms are tensed and the heads press each other.
  • One person raises his legs to a vertical position.
  • After a few seconds he lowers the legs and then raises them again, this time horizontally over his partner’s head.
  • After a few seconds he lowers the legs and relaxes.
  • Each person should practice a maximum of 5 times.

Breathing-

  • Inhale while in supine position.
  • Retain while raising, holding and lowering the legs.
  • Exhale when again supine.
  • The breathing pattern is identical for both persons.

The first stage where the legs are raised vertically may be practiced simultaneously by both persons.
Limitations-
Should not be practiced by any infirm person.
Benefits-

  • This asana strengthens the arm and back muscles.
  • It provides abdominal stimulation which activates intestinal peristalsis.

 

About Sharat S.

To keep my friends and readers Healthy, I love to write and share articles on Fruits, Vegetables, Yoga Exercise and more. Importantly, I always promote natural remedies to keep your body healthy.

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