If you are suffering from arthritis or rheumatism then Vipareeta Karani is the posture for you. Actually this posture is restorative for the whole nervous system and has a multitude of benefits bringing balance back to your whole being, relieving mild back pain, anxiety, digestive problems, insomnia, depression, headaches, high or low blood pressure, respiratory problems, cramps and varicose veins in the legs, calms the mind and helps with the menopause.
Vipareeta Karani in Sanskrit means ‘doing the reverse.’ For those of you suffering with arthritis it brings the blood flow to the parts of the body that need it and improves the healing process reducing pain.
It is not unlike sarvangasana the shoulderstand but there are quite profound differences. Here the neck is extended and not brought in to the chest, the blood flow to the head and face are unimpeded. The nervous system is toned up and nervous energy is increased which reduces the arthritis, the sluggish circulation or stasis in the diseased joints is cured and the blood flow activated. There are natural benefits to the heart as it encourages deep breathing slowing the heart down and bringing greater strength.
In this posture there is an arch to the lower back as the lumber region or the hips are resting on the hands and fingers, make sure the elbows are pushing down into the mat, the neck should be free here but always keep the head in line with the spine. So as in shoulderstand where the weight is on the shoulders here the weight is to the elbows and upper arms and the legs are kept and 45 degrees instead of being pushed up straight.
To begin lay on your mat on your back the arms next to your body and palms face down, breathe rhythmically into your abdomen. Then keeping your back, head and neck on the mat inhale and raise your legs up to 90 degrees. On the next inhalation gently lift your hips until you can place your hands and fingers flat against your hips or buttocks. Then tilt your pelvis back toward the mat; arching the lower back the hands are like shelves for your hips, keeping the neck free and weight on the elbows, the legs straight at 45 degrees and breathe rhythmically and deeply. To come down gently form a break on the mat with your hands and lower yourself carefully back down.
As well as all the benefits mentioned above it is written that this posture destroys old age and after 6 months practice reduces wrinkles and grey hair, so every reason to practice right!
Please do take care with this posture and it is always better to practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
Inverted postures should not be practiced by people suffering with serious eye problems such as detached retina or glaucoma or any serious neck or back injury. Always seek advise before practising.
There are variations that you can use also if this posture is too strong for you with resting bolsters and pillows under the lower back and using the wall for support.
For now enjoy your practice
Om Om Shanti Om
Mangala – Nicky.