March 05, 2013

Inverted Nightmares

In a culture that emphasizes competition and achievement, some students are clearly flinging themselves into inversions too soon. Add to that the desultory nature of many people's practices—one class a week at best, on a drop-in basis—and classes that are too large for the teacher to see everyone in a given pose, and you have the recipe for a potential disaster.

Sirsasana (Headstand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) are seductive poses—physically challenging, visually dramatic, and exhilarating. They are also surprisingly accessible. Despite the limitations of a tight lower back or hamstrings, most yoga practitioners can move into an inversion relatively easily.

But beginning and veteran yoga students alike are showing up in the offices of bodyworkers, chiropractors, and medical professionals with compression of the upper spine and impaired mobility in the neck, presumably from the practice of inversions.

Luckily, you don't have to become a yoga casualty by jumping into inversions before you're ready. If you are new to yoga, take your time before inverting—a year (or even three) is not too long. Work closely with an observant and knowledgeable teacher. Attend class regularly. Learn the fundamentals: Find the extension of the spine, open the shoulders, and develop balance, clarity, and strength within beginner poses first.


Neck Issues in Headstand

Everybody Upside Down

Newsletter Subscription Information

Sign Up For Daily Insight

Did a friend forward you this email? Sign up for your own free email newsletter by visiting

Change Your Current Email Address or Unsubscribe

Do not reply to this email to unsubscribe. You are currently subscribed as: `eMail`. Please visit Yoga Journal's Email Preferences Page to change your preferences or to unsubscribe.

Missing Issues?

Please add to your address book to prevent your email system from filtering our newsletters as spam.


Please send comments about content or suggestions for how to improve this newsletter to

Magazine Customer Service

For magazine subscription concerns such as back issues, address changes, and account status information, please visit our customer service department at

Copyright © 2011 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc,
an Active Interest Media company
300 Continental Boulevard, Suite 650, El Segundo, CA 90245 | Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy | Customer Service

If you are having trouble reading this email, please visit
Please add to your Email Address Book or Safe List to ensure the delivery of this newsletter to your inbox.