The 3 Must-Do Inversions for Beginners
When I was a novice yogi I remember being in the hot room and looking around at the others who took flight so easily in things like crow & headstand. If someone were to attempt handstand I was in such awe that I wanted to grab some popcorn and find a recliner. The unicorn’s of yoga have quickly become and likely will always be the inversions.
Fast forward to 7 years later, they still are and likely will be the object of my yoga affection. Often times when I am teaching and offer up a level 2 inversion I see this look in a beginners eye that is determined, lost and a mix of about 10 other emotions all rolled into one little yogi bear. I love it, I encourage it and I try to nurture it as much as possible. You have to try!
Luckily I had teachers along the way who always nurtured my curiosity and would help during or stay after class time permitting and would walk me through a few things that they found helpful in their own journeys. With that, I wanted to share with you today the 3 Inversions that I think every Beginner Yogi should try!
Crow Pose (Bakasana)
Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)
Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Instead of reinventing the wheel, I have links below on walk through, step-by-step tips on how to get into the poses for you to follow along.
What I will add is the following, each of these poses gave me a sense of accomplishment and benefits in my yoga practice which is what I am eager to share with you!
Crow Pose- The first time you hit your mark in this pose, you truly feel like you have mastered another level in your yoga practice. There are so many places that this pose can take you (crane, transition to a jump back, kick up into your handstand) that truly this is the terminal for all of your “flights” from here on out. Something else that really clicked with me in this pose is the amount of strength it helps you gain in your core. The tighter you get through your core the more weightless your body is and the less that is required of your arms. It truly is amazing the minute you feel the connection where your core is doing most of the pose for you – this is often not something you can pinpoint in pictures.
Headstand- Holding my first handstand was like opening the closet door to Narnia. There was so much freedom is being completely inverted and stacking my entire body (minus the benefits of stacking wrists up in a complete handstand). The beautiful thing I encourage my students with in trying a headstand is the strength you build in your core to do all kinds of twists and turns. It gives you the freedom to play with the hand and forearm placement. You get the freedom to eagle wrap the legs, or open them wide to a deep V. You can even play around with a core workout while inverted. It’s intimidating and I always welcome an exit strategy, but I truly encourage beginner yogis to give it a try in a safe and monitored environment because the possibilities are endless and empowering.
Shoulder Stand- This pose is often overlooked but is one of my favorites for the simply benefit of restoration. After a long yoga practice of twists and holds this pose is super energizing and powerful. Holding myself up and allowing the blood to circle back through my legs is so calming. You can kick your feet over your head for Plow Pose which allows you to stretch out your back and hamstrings as well. Unfortunately I suffer from headaches and sometimes they turn quickly into migraines. This is one of the poses that I revert to in efforts to release the tension that is often harbored in my neck, shoulders and lower back. This one isn’t the most sought after inversion for beginner yogis but it builds up strength and requires control while reaping the benefits I already mentioned.
There you have it, 3 inversions to start getting upside down. Stay tuned for more!