At Blue Chitta, we LOVE to practice inversions during our Yoga practice! Yoga inversions represent an opportunity to explore the limitless human potential, to make the impossible possible.
These 3 essential elements to successfully achieve your Yoga inversion are taught in our frequent yoga classes around the world with Blue Chitta and in our Montreal yoga studio Yoga Shak Montreal. Ari &I both travel the world and teach our love for Yoga and Free Diving. Getting upside down can be a great challenge for many people, and so I hope that this blog will help you in your practice to a successful inversion.
Feel free to comment or let me know what your difficulties are through our Facebook page (@blue_chitta) and we will guide you, on your path to inversion. There are 3 key elements to consider: Root to Rise, Bandhas and Breath. Let’s discover them:
Root to Rise – Lift the energy up from the ground. Remember the 3rd law of Newton? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What does that mean? It means that the more you push down into the ground, the more the ground will push right back up into you! This is true when you are standing up right on your feet but even more when you get upside down! Whatever is touching the ground, if it’s your forearm, hands or head, push it down like you want to push the ground away from you. You will instantly feel the grounding energy rising up through your body, giving you stability and creating more space in your body especially between the shoulders and neck and between each vertebrae.
Bandhas – Bandhas are energetic valves than are directing the flow of energy in the body. Two bandhas that are crucial for your inversion practice are Mula Bandha (Pelvic Floor Lock) and the Uddiyana Bandha (Abdomen Lock). When practicing yoga in general especially the yang styles of yoga like Vinyasa or Ashtanga but especially when practicing inversions, engaging with those two bandhas will protect and elongate your spine, concentrate the energy in the midline of your body and allow you to find strength and stability in the pose. So before you jump or float up into you inversion, make sure you lift the pelvic floor up like you try to stop yourself from peeing, you will instantly feel an upward current moving from the base of your spine to the lower belly, this is Mula Bandha. From there, gently engage your belly up and in, towards your spine. You will feel the energy rise up from the lower body to the upper body, creating a strong connection between the two and lengthening your spine: this is Uddiyana Bandha (Abdomen lock).
If you are new to the principals of Bandhas, I recommend that you practice them sitting down to start with until you get the hang of it. Then gradually introduce them to your daily practice and eventually in your inversion practice! Have you ever looked at someone floating up into a handstand effortlessly and wondering how this is even possible? The answer to this is Bandhas!
Breath: Once you are set in your position and you are ready to invert, take some time to find your breath. Cultivating a deep, slow and consistent breath will make the process of inverting yourself easier and more comfortable. Using your breath together with the Bandhas is like the secret recipe to inverting effortlessly. There aretwo ways of using your breath to go into inversions. Some people find it easier to use their Inhale to lift the legs up over the head but others find it more efficient to exhale to lift. Personally, I feel like inhaling works better for me. First I find my foundation and I push down into the ground, then I engage my Bandhas and when I am ready, I take a deep and slow inhale. I feel like this inhale brings energy and space into my core and bandhas and that’s how I lift up.
Some awesome and very experienced yogis prefer to exhale to rise up. This is the technique they use in weight lifting for example and it makes sense because as you exhale your diaphragm lifts up and it becomes more natural and almost automatic to engage Uddiyana Bandha. Whether you prefer to inhale or exhale to rise up doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is that you use slow and controlled breathing as you come up. People tend to hold their breath, but it makes itmuch harder to maintain balance, so make sure that you keep breathing deeply and slowly as well as when you are going down, use a slow and controlled breath to make your exit nice and smooth!
Those 3 essential elements to Yoga inversion are the secret recipe to bring with you on your next practice. Don’t get too caught up into trying to get your hips above your head right away, instead take the time to learn how to use the energy from the ground and from the air you breathe every time you rise and every time you fall! And most of all let go of your fear of failing and trust yourself!
Join us on our next Yoga Retreat in Boca Del Toro, Panama from June 6th to June 18th. Where Gabrielle and Erina are hosting workshops taking your Yoga practice to the next level. Find out more www.bluechitta.com or www.yogashakmontreal.com