Your UP means my DOWN??

Inversions… My story…

This was the most daunting aspect of any yoga class I entered. The point where the instructor would say “ Shoulder stand” or “Headstand”, would fill me with fear. Within 10 days of my journey into the 200hr TTC, I was up (or down as the case may be) in a headstand!!

Even though I like very detailed alignment instructions, the first 10 days caused a lot of confusion in my mind… Especially when it came to retracting and bringing the shoulder blades down and away from the ears. So I am going to be upside down, but I should move my shoulder blades down? Or up? Well, finally by about Day 9, my brain caught up with this whole inverted alignment, and somehow, it just happened!!

Slowly over the next few days, the feeling of fear transitioned to amazement and wonder. A few more days into it, I actually started breathing and relaxing. I loved it up there… or down there… and would want to stay inverted as long as my arm strength would let me.

Then I thought, lets try something that even in my wildest dreams would not be a possibility. Pincha Mayurasana and/or Vrischikasana. All of a sudden here I am, fast-forwarding to the last few days of the course, post an awesome preparatory class taught by one of the students (Jane Wei Ling). With the help of some of my fellow classmates (Joseph, Reisal and Pei Ni) and about 15-20 failed attempts, I finally got up (down!!) into something that looked like a hybrid of the elbow stand and the scorpion. At this point, I am trying to better it. A little bit, everyday.

The benefits of inversions are plentiful: (aside from the extreme exhilaration of finally getting there!) Firstly, it is just fantastic to reverse the natural blood flow through gravity, sending fresh oxygen rich blood to your head! Aside from looking positively radiant after an inversion, the increase of blood flow to the brain nourishes the cells, boosting brain power, concentration and awareness. Inversions also alleviate depression, by stimulating and balancing the release of neurotransmitters and hormones in the body through increased blood flow to the pituitary gland. Spinal alignment is increased, digestion is improved and constipation is relieved.

To conclude the topic, I would like wish all my fellow yogis the best of luck wherever you may be in your journey of inversions.

Mayuri Punjabi