For as long as I can remember I have been going upside down every single day. Now I observe my four year old daughter also standing on her head just as much as she does on her feet. I wonder what makes us just love practicing inversions?
Now along my spiritual path, I take a step back and ask why?
What is the upside of being upside down?
Going upside down allows us to see right side up, it changes our perspective. Inversions re-oxygenate our body and move our energy around. They allow energy to flow more fluidly revitalizing our organs. These poses are both uplifting and grounding at the same time. Entering the pose, resting in it, and then coming down makes you feel so connected to yourself, the sky and the earth. You are just reaching up, diving down, and looking around seeing things differently.
In the yogic scriptures the sanskrit term sirsasana - for headstand is known as 'king of all the poses'. Why? Iyengar compares this to the concept of having a King, a 'head' of state, or within ourselves the king is our brain, without our brain we cannot think, function and feel, so this pose symbolizes the importance and power of our own head.
Other interpretations are that we are in the womb head down and enter this world head first so we replicate that for a rebirth and fresh start every day.
Try for yourself - start with an inversion you feel comfortable with. Fun options are legs up the wall for beginners, shoulder stand, headstand, forearm stand and handstand!
As far as the upside of being upside down... sometime experiencing down emotions and thought patterns, allow us to fully embrace the 'up' thoughts and reprogram ourselves to crave more positive feelings. When we move our energy around, our body gets fresh oxygen and endorphins to feel happier and more present.
Practicing yoga is a symbolic exercise for how we should live our lives and train our thinking/feeling emotional muscles. When we hold a pose it may seem hard but the focus and determination we have lets us eventually rest into the pose and feel transformed. We can control how we position our bodies now lets use the poses to work on how we position our frame of mind.
Sending Love and Light,