Viparita Karani Mudra (Upside Down Seal)

Upside Down Seal
Level: Advanced

Viparita = turned round, reversed, inverted. Karani = doing or making

Whereas the simple version of this pose is soft and restorative, this variation is an extremely challenging core balance that requires opening in the chest, width across the back and length in the sides to sustain.

Organizing the Pose

  1. Come into the pose from Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1).
  2. Bending at the hips, bring the feet overhead.
  3. Keeping the chest wide and the shoulders grounded, drop the hips down behind you.
  4. Slide the hands down the back towards the buttocks for support.
  5. Bring the legs back to vertical if possible.
  6. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
  7. Either continue on with other Sarvangasana variations or return to Salamba Sarvangasana 1 and come down out of the pose, using the arms to control yourself as you roll down through the back.
  8. Slide off the blankets towards the head until the shoulders come to the floor and the hips are raised on the blankets. Rest there for a few breaths.
  9. Roll over onto the right side and press yourself up.

Practice Points

  • Reach the legs strongly up towards the ceiling.
  • Lengthen the sides of the waist towards the head.
  • Widen and lift the back ribs.
  • Roll the back of the armpit up towards the ceiling and the front down towards the head.
  • Soften, widen and ground the tops of the shoulders
  • Broaden the collarbones.
  • Soften and widen the chest, neck and throat.