Inverted poses in yoga have many benefits. Although I have been learning it in class, it has been just a couple of months or so since it became an active part of my home practice.
How has it worked for me?
For starters, it has helped me develop a stronger core and legs. In fact, longer holds in Sirsasana (headstand) work my legs harder than standing poses. It is easy to just somehow hold up but keeping the entire body working while standing on my head is very hard work. Every part is engaged, from my arms, shoulders, trunk, glutes and legs to maintain a balanced headstand. I’m still a long way from proficiency in it and use the support of a wall to kick up. But it gets better, a little everyday. Standing upside down gives a different visual perspective which translates into a new way of looking at situations. It builds endurance, a quiet confidence and a certain amount of fearlessness. All these are great qualities to cultivate and nurture for running.
I never imagined that I could ever attempt it because of cervical spondylosis. It became possible because of a gradual and systematic progression in the way I was taught. A strong emphasis on basic poses in the first few months prepared a base to go upside down. More importantly it was a regular home practice that has helped me get this far.
It is easy to get caught in the drama of fancy poses and get focused on goals of a handstand etc. but the beauty and value of yoga lie in its ability to create a strong foundation. It has helped inform my running as well as I work with alignment and balance. This has resulted in a certain freshness and curiosity in running as well as life.
As always, I remain a work in progress and grateful to those who have gone before me.