Inversions can loosely be classified as any pose where your heart is positioned above your head. For example, Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) are two of the more basic and mild inversions that demonstrate having your heart above your head. This positioning allows for (among other things) a reverse of blood flow in the body to relieve strain and gravitational force on the internal organs, to stimulate the pituitary gland, and to aid in stress relief and digestion. If you’ve never practiced Uttanasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana, we would suggest you click on these and become familiar with them before continuing with the position below.
Viparita Karani is a restorative pose in its own right, but a wonderful starting and ending position as well for the inversion we just recently featured, Halasana (Plow Pose). You can do this pose any time you like to rejuvenate tired legs and relieve tension in your lower back, and then move onto the more advanced inversions.
Diva Viparita Karani Benefits:
Calms the mind
Gently stretches the back of the legs
Relieves mild back pain
Revives tired and aching legs and feet
Diva Viparita Karani How To:
1. Come to sitting, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, with the right side of your body up against a wall.
2. Using your left hand to guide you down, slide the left side of your body down onto the floor and straighten your legs. Your sit bones and the back of your legs should now be touching the wall.
3. Now swing your legs up the wall as you come to lying on your back with your legs straight up, pushing through the heels. (If you find that you need extra support in your low back while in this position, use a bolster or a rolled up blanket as support right at your sacrum).
4. Lift the base of the skull, using your thumbs to gently release the tension in the neck. Relax your throat by creating space between your chin and your chest. Release your arms either down by your sides with your palms facing up or your elbows bent, forearms next to your ears with your palms facing up by your head. Hold here for as long as you like. For variations you can take your legs out into a V or bring the soles of your feet together in Baddha Konasana up the wall.
5. From here you can move into the inversion we mentioned earlier, Halasana.
6. To come out of the pose, bend your knees into your chest with the soles of your feet to the wall. Reach your right arm over head and roll all the way over to your right side (with the right side of your head resting on your arm). Use your left hand to press down into the floor and push your torso up.
Diva Viparita Karani Caution:
While inversions should be avoided during menstruation, this inversion may be restorative enough to do, but check with your trusted instructor for his/her opinion.
Do not perform if you have any serious eye problems such as glaucoma (the same goes for any inversion pose)
If your feet begin to tingle during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.
If you have serious back and neck issues, only do this pose with an experienced teacher present
Article Written By: Megan Helgeson is a freelance writer on health and wellness, a yoga instructor, and a personal lifestyle trainer--helping you get the most out of life with home organization, time management, nutrition, positive intention, and goal setting. Contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org **Don’t forget to ask about Diva Yoga Parties in Orange County.