Inverted postures, particularly Headstand and Shoulderstand tend to be avoided in many styles of yoga taught today. This is understandable given the knowledge, discipline and foundation work required to practice them safely and effectively. So why is it so important to practice them at all?
Mr Iyengar considers headstand and shoulderstand to be the centerpiece of practice. He has referred to them as the father and mother of the asanas and if all else fell away from your practice, those should remain.
Turning the body upside down boosts the major systems of the body (circulatory, respiratory, nervous and glandular) and gives rest to the heart.
Headstand (is stimulating) enhances memory, concentration and emotional stability.
Shoulderstand (is quietening) aids glandular and hormonal health.
Together they will strengthen your lungs, digestion and elimination.
They give us a lift if we are flat or they will warn us of exhaustion or illness.
The two poses bring a balance to our body and mind and hormonally for those practitioners who become pregnant or suffer menstrual disorders.
Do NOT practice inverteds during menstruation or if you have high blood pressure, ear infection or suffer from detachment of the retina.
Any INJURIES particularly neck, back or shoulder should be raised with the teacher before doing inverteds, there are a number of safe, supportive alternatives.