Inversions are an integral part of many yoga poses and are used for relaxation, meditation, and healing. They are also used to strengthen the abdominal muscles and internal organs, which is why they are so popular among yogis and practitioners.
Yoga is a great way to help your body and mind relax. In this article, we list the 10 most popular yoga inversions that we teach in our introductory yoga classes. All of these inversions are safe and easy to perform, so whether you are new to yoga, or an experienced practitioner, be sure to try them out!
Viewing websites and Instagram accounts of yogis and yoginis can lead the viewer to believe that yogis spend more time upside down than on the ground. Why do so many yogis like to go upside down?
With benefits ranging from strengthening the diaphragm to boosting hair growth, reverse yoga exercises can offer more than just a cool profile picture. It can be very scary at first! Especially if you are new to yoga. If you want to get in the habit of walking on your head, try a free 30-day yoga challenge. You will quickly gain confidence and get used to this new (inverted) perspective!
Here is a list of the 10 most popular inversions in yoga.
1. Stooped posture – Uttanasana
Front bends are present in yoga classes around the world, in part because this popular pose is part of the sun salutation sequence, Surya Namaskar.
Bending over has many benefits, including eliminating abdominal pain, strengthening the internal organs, stretching the spine and calming a restless mind.
Practical advice: Shift your weight to the front of your feet to bring your hips perpendicular to the floor.
2. Downward facing dog pose – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Some historians suggest that this asana only emerged in the last few centuries. In any case, the dog’s head down posture is one of the first postures that many modern yogis master. Another asana in the sun salutation series, the downward dog, is a complete workout that strengthens and stretches the body. This posture improves overall blood flow to the head and heart due to gravity’s natural tendency to flow downward.
Practical advice: Try pulling your arms up and back at the shoulder joints to relieve pressure on your sensitive wrists.
3. Crow pose – Kakasana
Crow pose, an arm balance and inversion pose, is a good example of overlapping categories of yoga poses (e.g., backbends, arm balance, inversions, etc.). Raven attitude is popular because it allows you to fly close to the ground and gain confidence.
Practical advice: Sometimes the fear of falling keeps us from flying, so try to intentionally fall off a crow! Start with a yoga squat and control the fall by keeping your feet on the ground until your head almost touches the ground, then work your way back up into a yoga squat for strength.
4. Main stand – Sirsana
The king of all asanas is known for many reasons, including its ability to strengthen the heart physically, emotionally and spiritually. The pear tree is also associated with the connection to the crown chakra. The headstand may seem difficult, but if you learn to do it correctly and safely, yogis reap the benefits, such as better memory and more self-discipline.
Practical advice: When you bring your hands together, place one little finger in front of, rather than under, the other little finger to relieve pressure on one little finger and distribute the weight to the outside of the palms.
5. Feathered Peacock Posture – Pincha Mayurasana
Like its namesake, the feathered peacock, this pose is a popular balance and inversion pose because of its photogenic nature and the fact that it challenges hands, torso and balance.
The pose has an exciting energy and is looking for adventurers to increase their balance, strength and courage to fly.
Practical advice: Measure a curly band from shoulder to shoulder. Now put this band around your forearms to hold your arms and activate your shoulders to lift them.
6. Headstand – Adho Mukha Vrkshasana
It’s no wonder the handstand is so popular. Anyone who has ever tried it, even for a millisecond, can tell you it’s a thrill.
Since the handstand or palm pose activates the body’s fight, flight and freeze response and energy is transmitted through the palms, the practice of the handstand helps yogis release tension, increase warmth and find a space between action and reaction.
Practical advice: As you prepare to do the headstand, lift your shoulders up over your toes, your shoulders working like a pendulum, and return to your wrists as your feet come up.
7. Laying the Bridge – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Bridge placement, which consists of back bending and inversion, is helpful in reducing symptoms ranging from asthma to back pain.
Because of its cooling effect, the bridge pose is also often practiced as a preparatory pose for the wheel and only to strengthen the legs and open the shoulders and chest.
Practical advice: To activate the thyroid, lift the chest to the height of the chin (NOT the chin on the chest, as this causes tension in the neck).
8. Standing Shoulder Posture – Sarvangasana
The shoulder stance, which is normally part of the last set of exercises because it involves the parasympathetic nervous system, the digestive response to rest, and cooling, uses gravity to help deoxygenated blood flow from the veins to the heart to become re-oxygenated.
Practical advice: Keep your hips heavy on your arms to increase the feeling of weight distribution on your shoulders and triceps, and avoid weight on your head and neck.
With this experiment in mind, keep the weight in your shoulders and triceps, lift your hips with your core and bring your chest to your chin.
9. Ploughing – Halasana
A very popular yoga pose, especially in the early morning, which helps to stimulate the internal organs and thyroid. Plowing is a great way to wake up the body and relieve stress. It looks relatively simple, but requires concentration to avoid neck injury.
Practical advice: To prevent hyperextension and stretching of your neck, rest the top of your shoulders on the floor and keep all your weight on the top and back of your shoulders.
10. Chakrasana wheel pose
The wheel pose, a deep back bend and nice inversion, develops leg and arm strength and strengthens the abdominal organs. Its rejuvenating potential for the elasticity and strength of the spine, and its connection to the seven major chakras along the spine, make this pose very popular.
Practical advice: Begin the bridge with your hands near your head and lift up at the expense of your heart and sternum to engage your lower back and body.
Inverted yoga poses are fun, perspective changing and confidence building. Their growing popularity is therefore not surprising. What are your favorite turnarounds, and what would you add to that list?
Inversions are a spectacular way to work your core and strengthen your legs and thighs. If you’ve never tried inversions, or if you’re looking to try out a new one, here are top 10 inversions that are sure to help you in your journey to a stronger, healthier, fitter you.