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Viparita Karani


Simple Inverted Pose

"Awake, my sleeping powers, awake!"

Vi-par-ii-ta Ka-ra-nii Viparita = inverted, reversal; karani = making


Place a folded blanket on the floor and lie on the blanket in savasana/ with the tops of your shoulders 2-3 inches below the folded edge of the blanket, elbows on the blanket.

Bring your arms to your sides, palms down. Inhale and lift your legs to vertical, then exhale as you lift your buttocks by pushing your hands and the backs of your arms into the floor. Place the heels of your palms on the upper back rim of your pelvis to help support the weight of your legs, while keeping your elbows on the floor. Place your fingertips on the coccyx. Roll your shoulders under you and keep your elbows close to your sides. At this point, your torso should be at about a 45 angle to the floor. Inhale and straighten at your hip joints, bringing your legs to just short of vertical, so a line straight down from your toes would intersect your abdomen. Press into the floor with the backs of the arms and shoulders, and lengthen upward through the legs.

Breathe smoothly and naturally as you hold the pose and affirm mentally, "Awake, my sleeping powers, awake!"

To exit, bend at your hip joints to bring your knees over your face, then slowly remove your hands and roll out of the pose. Keep your legs straight and lay your spine onto the floor vertebra by vertebra, then slowly lower your legs to the floor.

Pause to integrate the effects of the pose. Or if necessary, proceed immediately to a counterpose to release your neck (e.g., matsyasana).