Inversions

Technically, an inversion is any pose in which your heart is lower than your head. This has beneficial effects on the circulatory and immune system and induces a restful and peaceful, while alert, state of mind. So Downward Facing Dog is one inversion you already know!

The inversions we’ll practice in this sequence build strength in the mind, body and core and can be helpful in helping to overcome anxiety or fear. Feeling stable while turning your whole world up side down can be extremely empowering and liberating!

While it might seem like inversions are mostly arm strength, and it’s true that your arms are challenged for stability in these poses, your core strength is far more important for both achieving the pose and remaining steady and stable in it.

Maintain your stability, strength and attention while coming out of these poses. A great deal of energy is lost and risk taken when, feeling like the pose is over, people simply release their muscular engagement and flop down and out of these poses.

Finally, since your head is on the ground in these poses, your neck bears some weight. Keep your neck in a neutral alignment, neither hyper-extended or flexed, and only undertake inversions with the guidance of an experienced, qualified teacher and avoid if you have neck strain or prior injuries until you’ve talked to your healthcare professional.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Yoga Towel or Blanket

It is recommended to perform the warm-up before starting this routine.


Step 1: Downward Facing Dog

Duration: exhale
Pose Review: Downward Facing Dog

Engage your core and lower bandhas, lifting your belly up and under your ribcage,
and feeling the support of your core. Firm your upper arms toward one another.


Step 2: Plank
Duration: inhale
Pose Review: Plank Pose

Wave your spine forward by lifting strongly through your belly and sliding your heart forward between your shoulders


Step 3: Repeat Steps 1-2
Duration: 10x

Move fluidly between Down Dog and Plank with the breath, building awareness as you move from your core and warming up your shoulders and neck.


Step 4: Downward Facing Dog, Variation - Forearms
Duration: exhale
Pose Review: Downward Facing Dog

From Downward Facing Dog, lower your elbows to the ground. You can keep your hands in front of your elbows for extra opening, or lightly intertwine your fingers. This is sometimes referred to as “Dolphin Dog” and will further open your shoulders and side bodies while strengthening your back.


Step 5: Plank, Variation - Forearms

Duration: Inhale
Pose Review: Plank Pose

Wave forward again through your core, lowering your sternum between your shoulders even as you lift your hips in line between heels and shoulders.


Step 6: Repeat Steps 3-4
Duration: 10x

Move back and forth with the breath, building heat, strength and awareness.

        
Step 7: Boat Pose
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review: Boat Pose

From Staff Pose, bend your knees and press your sitting bones strongly into the ground as you lift your pelvic floor and draw your belly button back and up toward your rib cage. Lift your sternum.  Extend your legs out with your toes pointed and reach your arms parallel to the floor beside your knees, palms facing in.

    
Step 8: Inverted Plank
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review: Inverted Plank

Place your hands on the ground behind your back, fingers pointing forward. With a neutral neck, lift your hips until they’re in a line between your heels and shoulders.


Step 9: Repeat Steps 5-6
Duration: 5x


Step 10: Headstand Prep

Duration: 10x

Find a clear space at the wall with no hangings, nails or other obstructions. You may place blankets or carpets nearby until you gain confidence. Come to Dolphin Dog within 4 inches of the wall. Place the crown of your head on the ground between your forearms and elbows. Do not rest all your weight on your head, but continue pushing the ground with your upper arms.

        
Step 11: Headstand
Duration: 5-15 breaths
Pose Review: Headstand

Walk your feet in until you are on tip toes. Pushing your hips back with your low belly, feel your feet come up and off the ground, draw your knees in with your heels near your buttocks until you feel steady. Then, extend your feet up and overhead. Point your toes, spread your toes. Keep your inner thighs as active as the rest of your body.


Step 12: Child’s Pose
Duration: until your breath stabilizes.
Pose Review: Child’s Pose

Always rest in Child’s Pose after an inversion, allowing your body to adjust to the new position.


Step 13: Shoulder Stand

Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Review: Shoulder Stand

From a supine position, press your elbows into the ground, draw your knees in and extend your legs up and overhead. Bring your hands to your low back and support it until your breath stabilizes. Reaching up through your toes, slowly bring your hips over your shoulders until your shoulders, hips and toes are in a line perpendicular to the ground. Breathe with your chest, keeping your core muscles fully engaged.


Step 14: Plow
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Review: Plow Pose

Lower your feet behind your head without lowering your hips toward your chest. Maintain long side bodies. Reach your hands behind you and bring your hand together with straight arms.

    
Step 15: Fish
Duration 5 breaths
Pose Review: Fish Pose

Unfurl through your core until your hips are on the ground. Bend your knees and bring your toes to the ground. Pressing your elbows into the ground, lift your heart up until you are balanced on your sitting bones and sacrum and reach the top of your head back to the ground. Reach your arms up.


Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this routine.


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