This powerful yet gentle yoga posture is classed as an inversion, but for those of us who think ‘up-side-down’ means head stands, wheels and peacocks; this posture is most definitely a welcome relief!
Annie Jones, one of the founders of Dru has been practicing this posture for years: “Vipariti Karani is one of my favourite postures, indeed, the whole of my personal yoga practice builds up to this point. Not only is it calming for the mind, but it seems to create space around my thoughts – giving me the perspective and time to think. It’s said to be beneficial in preventing conditions such as alzheimer’s as well as helping us to keep our minds alert and our memories sharp.
It is a calming posture which helps to lower blood pressure, and yet, if you are tired, a simple 5 minutes of this posture will see you restored and ready to face your next task. Due to the inversion, the downward pressure of gravity is taken off the organs, allowing them time to relax, it also helps gently increase the blood supply to the brain, and therefore nourishing the cells with fresh oxygen and nutrients.
Finally, my favourite benefit of this posture is that it helps to nourish and calm the area of the throat. The gentle compression of the thyroid gland stimulates the metabolism assisting in weight management and physical energy levels as well as gently activating and nourishing the vishuddhi chakra, the centre of our self expression and communication which resides at the level of the throat. In fact, Vipariti Karani is perfect for anyone like me who does a lot of communicating.”
Who shouldn’t do this posture?
As a low supported inversion this posture can be done by most people. It is even said to be beneficial for those with high blood pressure, as it has a calming effect on the body, and you can choose to have a very low inversion or higher, depending on how you feel. If you have extreme high or low blood pressure, you can get the same benefits by simply placing the legs up a wall with you back flat. Take extra caution during pregnancy, as you shouldn’t be on your back for too long, especially after 4 months, but placing the legs up the wall for a short period of time in early pregnancy can help reduce swelling and tirdness in the legs. If you have glaucoma, you are on the first 3 days of your menstrual cycle, have a neck problem or a heart condition, please don’t do this posture.
How to do this posture
1. Place a blanket on the floor, it needs to be folded so that your hips to your shoulders are on the blanket, with the head comfortably on the floor. This ensures when you are in the posture that the neck is free to move easily.
2. Place more folded blankets, a folded duvet, or cushions on top of the base blanket.
3. Sit carefully onto the pile of blankets. Reach one hand back to balance your weight as you lie down onto your back, with you hips supported by the blankets. Your head should be on the floor, and the shoulders on the base blanket.
4. Engage your core stability muscles and begin to raise the legs till they are vertical with your arms resting comfortably by your sides.
5. Relax for as long as you feel comfortable. You may need to bring the knees to the chest to give your legs a break if they get tired. To come out of the posture, place the feet on the floor and roll to one side. Pause for a minute to balance the blood pressure before you push yourself up into seated.
6. Sit quietly for a few minutes and absorb the incredible benefits of this posture.
> You can do this posture as part of Annie Jones’ Natural Weight Loss Class 1 on the Dru Yoga Online Studio
> Watch this posture here
> Posture taken from the Dru Yoga Teacher Training course
> Yoga retreats in Snowdonia