Especially for the postnatal mama, inversions are a wonderful way to finding energy again after months of child-bearing while being in the first few tiring weeks with a new baby.
I am an upside-down devotee! I have loved inversions ever since I was a little girl, and I still try to go upside-down at least once a day.
There are so many benefits to inversions:
– Develop strength and stability
– Change our outlook on life!
– Develop confidence
– Natural anti-depressant (Bye Bye Blues – they turn your frown upside-down!)
– Reduce stress
– Help keep you alert
– Boost creative thinking
– Reduce PMS symptoms
– Boost the immune system
– Revitalize internal organs
– Anti-aging effects
– Glowing skin
– Boost your brain
– Aid digestion
– Promote a sounder sleep
– Improve posture
– Improve flexibility
– Improve joint health
– Help to calm and relax..
… to name a few!
Inversions are just as beneficial for the prenatal mama too. If you have never done full inversions before, it is not recommended to start a new practice while pregnant though, but if not, they are a healthy part of any prenatal practice, full of invigorating benefits.
Here are 10 yoga poses to get you upside-down, which means getting your head below the heart level. ♥
A few tips:
*Start slow to build strength
*Avoid making adjustments while inverted
*If you’re breastfeeding, some inversions may bring a sensation of fullness to the breasts. If this is uncomfortable, don’t stay too long, or just try another pose!
*Warm up properly
Please consult a licensed physician before beginning any new exercise program. Inversion should be avoided if you are experiencing high or low blood pressure, neck pain or injuries, headaches, glaucoma, diarrhea or asthma. Also, if you are menstruating, it is recommended to avoid full inversions during the heaviest days of your period.
1. FORWARD FOLD, WITH OR WITHOUT DANGLING (Uttanasana)
With or without your knees bent, fold over from the hips towards your legs, while thinking of bringing the abdomen close to the upper thighs.
In Uttanasana, the legs will remain straight, shoulders raised away from the ears.
You can also dangle, kind of like a raggedy doll, by bending the knees, holding the elbows with your hands and letting the head and shoulders .. dangle!
Feels absolutely fantastic. A great way to start inverting again after baby!
*Stay 3-10 full belly breaths
2. EXTENDED PUPPY POSE (Uttana Shishosana)
This wonderful pose isn’t considered to be a full inversion, but does give many of the same benefits. And it’s another great pose to use when you’re just easing into your yoga practice after baby.
*Keep the arms active
*Stretches out the shoulders and upper back which can be soar and tight while breastfeeding
*Creates space in the rib cage, especially for the pregnant mama (hallelujah)
*Stay 30-60 seconds
3. DOWNWARD DOG
Not considered to be a full inversion, this yoga pose is safe all throughout pregnancy and is another invigorating way to get back upside-down once you’ve had your baby!
*Push the floor away with spread fingers and palms.
*If you’ve had a procedure to flip a breech baby, this pose is not recommended.
*Stay 5-15 full breaths
4. DOLPHIN POSE
Start to prepare full inversions with this pose. By pushing into the ground with the forearms, this pose prepares the upper body and strengthens the core in preparation for full inversions. It’s also a wonderful shoulder opener!
*Add-on: Following the breath, inhale the weight forward and exhale the weight back to develop mobility and strength in the shoulders
*Stay 5-15 full breaths
5. HANDSTAND PRACTICE (against the wall)
In preparation for full inversions, find a wall. Start with Downward Dog, heels pressing into the wall. Keeping the upper body strong and head in line with the arms, start walking one foot onto the wall, then try the other, until the hips align over the shoulders. This is always a super exciting pose for me!
*Lift one leg at a time for added fun
*Stay 5-10 full breaths
6. FEATHERED PEACOCK (Pincha Mayurasana)
Both Dolphin Pose and Handstand practice will to start build the strength needed in the upper body for this intermediate pose. From Dolphin Pose, gently kick legs to vertical position.
*Press into the forearms
*Stay 10-20 seconds
7. FULL HANDSTAND (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
This is my favorite of all yoga poses. It absolutely fills me with joy! Feeling alignment and strength throughout the body, as the core engages to make it all come together, is magical!
*Start by practicing against a wall or with an experienced teacher
*Stay 5-60 seconds
8. SHOULDER and HEAD STAND
I cannot do shoulder or head stands, as I sustained an important neck injury during my dancing career, but with proper technique, these are powerful inversions to add to any daily routine!
9. BRIDGE POSE (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
I include this gentle inversion at the end of most of my yoga practices. Lying on your back, bend the knees bringing the heels close to the sitting bones. With the arms stretched along the body, palms facing down, press into the feet to lift the hips off the ground.
*Feet and knees are hip-width apart
*Chest bone (Sternum) lifts up and towards chin
*For a restorative version, place a yoga block under the sacrum
*Stay 30-60 seconds
10. LEGS-UP-THE-WALL (Viparita Karani)
Could there be a more calming pose. Restorative and rejuvenating,
There’s a general consensus among modern yogis that Viparita Karani or Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose may have the power to cure whatever ails you. -Yoga Journal
Lying on your back with the hips against the wall (they don’t need to be touching), bring both legs up the wall.
*Arms can rest over the head, to the side, or on the belly
*You can also prop a pillow or bolster under the hips for elevation
*Stay 5-15 minutes
“When our heart is higher than our head, we place our bodies in an unconventional configuration. By shifting our relationship with gravity, inversions counter act the effect of gravity by delivering a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to the brain. Inversions allow us to develop strength, balance and stability. They challenge our perception, and may even evoke fear, but by conquering our weaknesses, we will develop a rewarding sensation that is highly motivating and re-energizing.”
~ Mr Yoga.
Whether prenatal or postnatal, may an inversion light up your day 🙂 !
Do you have a favorite inversion that isn’t mentioned here? Share below!
Hi! I’m Myriam, a former dancer turned yoga teacher based in Montreal. I’m also mama to two unbearably beautiful little ones, ages 2 and 5. 🙂 I believe in the virtues of bringing breath and body awareness as well as humor and loving-kindness to new mamas, and mamas-to-be! Read more→
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