The Viparita Karani Asana literally translates as ‘inverted action’ and is a Sanskrit word found in the Gheranda Samhita, an ancient scripture of Hinduism. According to the scripture, the pose is said to be the destroyer of all diseases. The origin of the Viparita Karani pose can be traced back to the 17th century, and its main purpose is to re-route the energy into the upper portion of the body. Also read 10 Yoga Poses Transform Your Body and Mind with These Yoga Poses
How to Practise Viparita Karani Asana
To reap the Viparita Karani asana benefits, it is important to understand the steps mentioned below and follow them to the dot:
- Stand close to the wall with your toes touching the wall.
- Inhale and sit close to the floor, with bent knees, continue to touch your toes to the wall. Exhale and place your palms on the floor.
- Inhale and slowly lie down on the floor with your legs together side by side. Exhale once you completely release your body to the floor.
- Inhale again and slowly raise your legs, keeping them straight. If you cannot do so without support, you can use the wall as a support to align your legs straight. Adjust your hips accordingly to bring the tail bone close to the wall. Exhale once the hips and legs are adjusted to the wall.
- Make sure to keep the legs aligned perpendicularly to the wall and the upper body. Your toes should be pointing downwards by supporting your heels on the wall.
- Move your body until you find the right spot, making you feel comfortable in the position.
- Keep your neck, shoulders, and chest relaxed.
- Remain in the same position for about 12 seconds. Close your eyes while you do so and breathe in and out slowly in a rhythmic manner, with your muscles relaxed.
- Inhale and slowly move your hips backwards, release the legs, place your feet on the ground, close to the wall and relax the lower back. Exhale.
Viparita Karani Benefits
Viparita Karani asana is associated with a vast number of benefits. The top 15 Viparita Karani yoga benefits are listed below:
Viparita Karani Benefits # 1 - Improves Blood Circulation
The Most Obvious Of The Viparita Karani asana benefits is improved blood circulation. Some people experience swelling of the legs, also called edema. A common cause of this is venous insufficiency, or when the veins in our legs do not circulate, blood pooling and blood clots. To improve blood circulation in this area, the legs up pose of the Viparita Karani asana is quite helpful. By inverting our body and holding the pose for a few seconds, the Viparita Karani asana restores normal blood flow to our legs and reduces swelling. For the same reason, the Viparita Karani pose also helps overcome cramping issues in the legs.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 2- Relieves Mental Anxiety and Helps De-stress
When one practices the Viparita Karani asana, it also improves blood circulation to the brain. Therefore, many patients who practice the Viparita Karani yoga pose experience lower stress levels and a calmer state of mind.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 3 - Improves Brain Efficiency
Practicing the Viparita Karani on a daily basis also helps to increase the brain’s level of alertness. This can prove to be especially useful for those suffering from forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 4 - Glowing skin
As the inverted Viparita Karani pose restores blood flow to the entire body, it rejuvenates the brain, thereby activating the skin and regulating hormones. This can help in maintaining the glow of the skin and face.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 5 - Hairfall Prevention
When one practices the Viparita Karani asana, they restore blood flow to the scalp. The oxygenated blood which passes through the scalp stimulates the region and the hair follicles present in the area. Upon stimulation of these hair follicles, hair issues like hair fall and premature greying of hair can be prevented.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 6 - Treatment of Hypoactive Thyroid
Since the thyroid gland is present in the upper portion of our body, near the neck, the inverted Viparita Karani asana position also improves blood flow to the thyroid gland. When that happens, an underactive thyroid gland can produce a sufficient amount of thyroid hormones required for the optimal functioning of our body.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 7 - Increasing Appetite
Some people are malnourished or suffer from nutritional disorders like bulimia, anorexia, or a lack of appetite. Another of the Viparita Karani asana benefits is stimulating the digestive system. This helps in the proper secretion of the digestive enzymes and hormones in the body. Together, a combination of these biochemical substances helps improve the functioning of the digestive system, maintain the gut, improve appetite and also relieve symptoms of constipation.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 8 - Prevent Sciatica Pain
The Sciatic Nerve runs along the spine, and when this nerve is compressed partly or wholly, it can cause inflammation and very painful symptoms in the leg. Another of the Viparita Karani yoga benefits is that the leg muscles relax completely and remove any strain on the sciatica nerve.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 9 - Treats Occupational Pains in Neck and Shoulders
As most office-going people spend the day sitting in their chairs while working on their computers, they are prone to occupational hazards like neck and shoulder pains. Practising Viparita Karani yoga benefits them by relaxing their shoulders and neck.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 10 - Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Many women experience painful menstrual cramps when Aunt Flo visits them every month. This leads to a dramatic negative effect on their performance at work and at home. Practising the Viparita Karani pose benefits the abdominal area by relaxing the abdomen to relieve cramps while comforting the lower back.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 11 - Prevents Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins, also known as spider veins, and can be a source of extreme discomfort, edema, eczema and leg pain in the legs. They can occur in women or men of any age but are particularly common in pregnant women, obese patients, smokers as well as those who have a genetic history of having varicose veins. The Viparita Karani benefits those suffering from varicose veins by the reverse flow of blood, which otherwise is uncommon due to extended periods of sitting.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 12 - Facilitates Athletes
Viparita Karani benefits athletes by relaxing the leg muscles and facilitating a healthy blood supply to the legs and hips soon after running.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 13 - Boosts Immune System
As per ancient Hindu scriptures, the Viparita Karani asana can fight all types of diseases.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 14 - Anti-Ageing
While yoga, in general, improves the elasticity of the skin and promotes glowing skin, the Viparita Karani benefits the upper body, especially the brain, by providing adequate blood flow and stimulating cognitive function. This prevents symptoms of ageing.
Viparita Karani Benefits # 15 - Tones Stomach Area
Those who practice the Vipartia Karani asana regularly can also observe that it helps in toning the stomach area as it improves the digestion process.
Contraindications of Viparita Karani Asana
Although the Viparita Karani asana has tremendous benefits, it should be exercised with caution and avoided by specific categories of people.
- Those who suffer from eye disorders like glaucoma should steer clear of this asana.
- Those women who are menstruating should not practice the Viparita Karani.
- If you suffer from serious back and neck complications like spondylitis, muscle trauma or injury, they can perform the Viparita Karani asana only under the supervision of an expert.
- High blood pressure patients should avoid practising the Viparita Karani asana as it can aggravate the problem further.
- Those suffering from heart problems or have a history of cardiac arrest should avoid the legs-up-the wall position.
- Patients with hyperthyroid and enlarged thyroid glands should not practice the Viparita Karani asana.
- Avoid the Viparita Karani pose if you are pregnant.
- Be careful while practising the asana and observe if you feel a tingling sensation in your feet. If this occurs, bend your knees and touch the soles and bring your heels close to your pelvis.
As you can see, the Viparita Karani asana is an energising inversion that relieves the spine, brain, feet and legs. It is one of the simplest asanas but with various benefits associated with its practice. It does not require one to be flexible or demonstrate a previous knowledge of yoga. You can also try Auric energy drink to stay fresh and calm. However, if you have a history of medical problems, always make sure to consult an expert before practising the Viparita Karani asana.
So when will you start implementing the Viparita Karani asana in your daily routine? Have you started already? Let us know how it has benefited your body.
Authored By: Divya Shankar
About Author: Divya Shankar is a multifaceted content writer with 7+ years of experience. She has exclusive writing expertise in ayurveda.