Inquiry-based Practice// Inversions

In class this week, we practiced several inversions: sarvangasana-shoulder stand, sirsasana-headstand (with this lovely, supported version I learned from Patricia Sullivan), and pincha mayurasana- feathered peacock.

After our practice, a student asked what the benefits of inversions are. This is interesting territory.  A few years ago, I might have listed off a whole bunch of benefits I’ve read in various asana and anatomy books as well as some chakra chatter and amrita talk.

And for many people, the benefits catalogued in an asana text might ring true. But I don’t know this. I don’t know the experiences anyone else is really having in a particular shape.  And my practice has evolved over the past 17 years. Now I am squarely in a place of inquiry, sensing, feeling, asking, receiving.

I want to know, too. I know how I feel after I practice hand-stand, but that is all. I want you, my colleagues, peers and students to tell me about your experiences. And still, to remember that these will always be impressions of experiences that may at times transcend language.

So, here is what I propose: for the next month, let’s practice whatever inversions we might practice, every day (loosely defining inversion as any time the heart is above the head or any time the feet are above the heart). After practicing, note how it felt to be in the pose, how it felt afterwards and any general observations. In furtherance of abhyasa (practice), compassion and wisdom.

Then, we’ll report back.

Some ideas for asanas:

legs up the wall


downward-facing dog

downward dog with blocks


dolphin up





feathered peacock

pincha mayurasana

shoulder stand


I am choosing three to do every day. Probably legs up the wall, headstand and handstand.

Anyone else interested?



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