Turn It Up Side Down

The benefits of inversion are legendary, but the one we often forget is that they’re fun! Not only do they bring a tide of fully nourished blood to our overworked brains, they calm nervous activity, lengthen the neck, strengthen nearly every part of the body and are a template for how to conquer the unknown.

The first time you go up side down, especially as an adult, the world looks shockingly different. You know it’s the same room, same people, same light, same day, but with every point of reference transformed your vision is renewed. This can evoke feelings of anxiety, even fear. By gently and mindfully returning to this state and its attendant feelings, remaining and observing we learn so much about how to handle challenges. One of the most important lessons can be that the very things that seem scary at first can become safe, comfortable and even desirable with time, attention and care. We learn not to believe everything we think, to remain with our breath, and to trust the foundations we build.

To build your foundation, practice the Core-Arm-Shoulder Sequence before this one to assure your steady bedrock. When you are confident in your base, begin this sequence by warming up with 2-12 Vinyasa before you turn your world up side down!

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: Vinyasa Sequence
Duration: 2-12 times
Sequence Review: Vinyasa Sequence


Step 2: 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 3: 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: 4 Repeat Steps 3-4 10x


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


Step 5: Bird of Paradise Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Bird of Paradise Pose

From a bound Extended Side Angle Pose, walk your back foot in and bring your feet parallel. Transfer your weight to your back foot, and as you stand up your front, bound leg will come off the ground. Extend your bound leg up beside your torso and point your foot.


Step 6: Repeat on the other side.


Step 7: Headstand
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Headstand Pose

Come to Downward Facing Dog, Forearm Variation about 4 inches away from the wall, or out in the middle of the room. Make sure an area with the radius of your height is clear of objects and obstructions. Make sure your elbows are under your shoulders. Walk your feet in until you are on tip toes and draw your knees in to your chest, hips over shoulders. Mindfully extend your legs up and overhead.


Step 8: Downward Facing Dog, Variation - Jumps

Duration: 1 breath, repeat 12 times
Pose Review: Downward Facing Dog

From Downward Facing Dog, walk your feet a little forward until you are on your toes. Bend your knees and exhaling press back with your belly, drawing your heels to your hips and your hips over your shoulders. Maintain total engagement in your arms with a broad chest. Return to the ground immediately on the inhale. Repeat 12 times.

Rest in Child’s Pose until your breath stabilizes.


Step 9: Forearm Stand Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Forearm Stand Pose

Come to Downward Facing Dog, Forearm Variation about 4 inches away from the wall, or out in the middle of the room, making sure an area with the radius of your height is clear of objects and obstructions. This time, make your forearms parallel, palms down. You can place a block lengthwise between your forearms to help. Walk your feet in and lift one leg while you bend the other. Press your belly back strongly as you hop up with your bent leg and extend both legs up to the ceiling. Finish by looking at the ground, opening your throat.


Step 10: Scorpion Pose

Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Scorpion Pose

From Forearm Balance Pose, bend your knees, keeping your core and both legs and feet fully engaged.


Step 11: Hand Stand Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Hand Stand Pose

Come to regular Downward Facing Dog wherever you’ve been doing your other inversions. You’ll several more feet of space because your arms will be fully extended. Walk your feet in, bend the knees gently and press your belly back until your hips are balanced over your shoulders. Extend your legs up and point and spread your toes. Keep your gaze forward in this pose, just as if you were doing Raised Hands Pose, only up side down!


Step 12: Shoulder Stand
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Review: Should 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 13: 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 14: 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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