Not everyone loves being upside down right away, but there are FOUR HUGE internal benefits to going upside down at the end of each Ashtanga practice. These benefits are, by their very nature, more subtle and less obvious than the health benefits (which are by themselves astounding – especially for your lungs – more about that another time). For practitioners using yoga as a life-path-practice, inversions are considered “the king” of all postures.
BENEFIT ONE: Agni shifts to burn away excesses in the lower energy centers (your internal zoo located at chakras 1-3)……
The flame of Agni (the fire of transformation on all layers of body, mind, spirit) always burns uP toward the heart center, the chitta-nadi, udana vayu and the crown chakra. When we invert, this flame continues to point up but instead burns away toxins in the digestive area & the lower 3 chakras, lessening the power of the lower “animal qualities” of our nature
BENEFIT TWO: Apana (downward flow of energy) is reduced….
Inverting helps reduce apana to an efficient minimum so that more internal energy can be spent on the lifting energies of the body such as prana (breathing and integrating) and udana (curiosity, creativity and spiritual hunger).
BENEFIT THREE: The mind must literally shift its perspective…..
Inversions bring an introspective quality to practice that counteracts the externally-oriented perspective of daily living. You can settle down (once you are up).
BENEFIT FOUR: The mind is quieted…..
It is hard to think about job stress, bills, kids, housework and errands when you are upside down. You can’t be stressed about what you don’t think about. It puts you firmly in the present moment where stress is absent – it’s simply not possible to be “stressed” when you reside in the NOW. Stress is a future or past thing.
By Mara Healy
Pictures by Wanda Koch