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27 Mind-Blowing Inversions From Rockstar Yogis

Photo by Christine Love Hewitt
March 14, 2013

Here at MBG we love yoga and we love going upside down! We know how difficult it can be to invert, and how great it can feel when you finally get the strength, grace, and confidence to balance in a headstand.

So we reached out to some of the best yogis in the world to find out why they love inversions, and asked them to share some of their favorites.

We were amazed by the responses and hope you are, too.

Sit back, relax, and be amazed at what the human body can do! And perhaps get inspired to go upside down yourself!

Elena Brower

Pose: Handstand.

Location: On a seamless in my home for Chapter 5 in my book, Art of Attention

Why I love going upside down: I love handstands because it took so long to learn HOW. I have a lot of respect for the dynamics and difficulty of inversions in general. Our bodies love being upside down, and it feels like a new lease on life every time.

Gigi Yogini

Photo by Fluid Fram Photography

Pose: Headstand.

Location: Flatiron building, New York City. Photo by Fluid Frame.

Why I love going upside down: Headstand helps you calm your mind, even amid chaotic circumstances. It's considered the king of all asana for good reason and should be practiced every day.  

Noelle Beaugureau

Pose: Handstand with Splits variation.

Location: The photo was taken by amazing friend and photographer Kristin Burns out in the desert on a dry lake bed.

Why I love going upside down: It reminds me of the strength and calm that yoga provides. I love this picture because I had such a fun time on this shoot with Kristin, the ground was so hot, I could only stand or balance on it with my hands for a few seconds. We were out on the dry lake bed all alone and it was such a beautiful experience to be in the desert and connect to that intense vortex of energy in that is out there. 

Andrea Marcum

Pose: Handstand.

Location: Nosara, Costa Rica. We were on a retreat, and one of my students switched pants with me right there on the beach to get just the right sunset colors in my handstand.

Why I love going upside down: "The world is wrong side up. It needs to be turned upside down in order to be right side up." — Billy Sunday

Mary Beth LaRue

Pose: Charging Scorpion variation.

Location: Playing around in a Santa Monica backyard.

Why I love going upside down: It's a complete shift in perspective! When I'm feeling a little low or unfocused, inverting helps me invigorate, strengthen and PLAY. 

One of the most important elements of my daily yoga practice is not taking myself too seriously and inversions are an amazing way to practice that on the mat. 

Kino MacGregor

Pose: Scorpion.

Location: This was photo taken on Miami Beach by John Miller.

Why I love going upside down: I love this posture because it's a combination of strength and flexibility. Embodying balance is the essence of yoga asana practice and this posture is a perfect illustration of that principle.

Marcus Julian Felicetti

Pose: Handstand.

Location: Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia.

Why I love going upside down: I love handstands because they make me feel good. And they strengthen the nervous system, the muscles, and the sense of balance.

Kathryn Budig

Pose: Handstand variation.

Location: Venice, California. Shot by Jasper Johal.

Why I love being upside down: There's a sense of freedom in being upside down—it's full of the unknown. I might soar, I might crash, but no matter what it brings me into the exact moment and that's freedom.

Janet Stone

Pose: Headstand variation.

Location: In the Mission in San Francisco. Photo by Mario Covic.  

Why I love going upside down: It's a welcome recalibration of my perspective, and so I go upside down any chance I get. 

Eoin Finn

Pose: One-Arm Handstand.

Location: Baja. Shot by Mike Bernard.

Why I love this pose: Even though it's far from how we normally go through the world on two feet, it reminds me that there are many ways to find balance! I feel super weightless in this one, and I feel like it reflects the deep child-like joy for life I feel when I am by the ocean. 

Liz Arch

Pose: Straddle Handstand.

Location: Topanga, California. Photo by Robert Sturman.

Why I love going upside down: Inversions have been a powerful metaphor for me to learn how to breathe, remain calm and remain balanced when my world is literally flipped upside down. Beyond that, they're just pure fun! If I'm ever feeling down, a handstand is the best pick-me-up I've found!

Heidi Kristoffer

Pose: L-Handstand.

Location: Strala Yoga, NYC.

Why I love going upside down: It makes me so happy—I feel like my ten year-old self all over again! It flips my perspective, literally, and always puts a smile on my face. Also, being in handstands feels SO great on my spine—it's the best kind of lengthening. 

I love L-Handstand in particular as it requires a ton of core engagement and spinal extension. If my spine was tight going into the pose, when I come out of it, my spine cracks all over and releases any tension that was hiding in there. 

Michael Taylor

Pose: I don't think this is a pose, it's just moving upside down on rocks!

Location: South Beach, Miami.

Why I love going upside down: I like going upside down for some of the same reasons I like climbing: good time to be 100% focused on what you're up to. As you move along with both yoga and climbing, these things are less about strength and more what you can do with your mind.

Tara Stiles

Pose: Handstand with crazy legs.

Location: Table mountain, Cape Town, South Africa. I was in Cape Town shooting the TV spot for my Reebok line and couldn't pass up the chance to see a lot of the nature that's right in the city. When I'm in nature I can't help but to practice yoga (if I can squeeze it in without looking too much like a nut) because it's so fun and it feels fantastic.

Why I love going upside down: It feels great and is energizing. It's also a fun trick to lure people into practicing yoga. 

Dana Flynn

Pose: One-Handed at the wall!

Location: Laughing Lotus, NYC.

Why I love going upside down: It brings me closer to God.

Dice lida-Klein

Name: Fingertip Handstand.

Location: Downtown Los Angeles.

Why I love going upside down: Seeing the world from another view, or someone else's view, is so important. The more we can accept and try things from a different perspective, the better things will be for us and those around us. Going upside down is just another way of viewing the world. 

Briohny Smyth

Pose: One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose.

Location: Jasper Johal's Studio, Venice Beach, California.

Why I love going upside down: Yoga has been my sanctuary for the past 15 years. It's where I'm able to find calm no matter what. My love for going upside down is exactly the same. It reminds me that the most important moment of life is NOW and being calm and present through the storm is a vital part of enjoying life. It takes strength, practice, and patience to achieve a pose like this one, but we are always students of yoga, never masters … just like life.

Tiffany Cruikshank

Pose: Lotus handstand variation.

Location: Washington DC with the amazing Drew Xeron Photography.  

Why I love going upside down: I love the playfulness of inversions and their ability to empower us to take the difficult and often scary steps we need to take in our lives.  

Minhee Cha

Pose: Handstand variation.

Location: New York City. Photo by Wari Om.

Why I love going upside down: It helps to get out of my patterns, and to accept things with a new perspective. 

Amy Jirsa

Name: Tripod Headstand variation.

Location: In my dining room / home-yoga-practice-space, photo taken by my ever-so-patient spouse, Sean.

Why I love going upside down: I love the discipline, strength, and sheer anti-gravitational wonder of going upside-down. Sirsasana B (Tripod Headstand variation), when I finally managed it, was a huge step forward in my practice.

Jennifer Jarrett

Pose: Headstand variation.

Location: Taken in a freezing warehouse above a tire shop in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Why I love going upside down: No matter what is going on around me or within me, it always makes me feel better. It's as simple as that!

Danielle Robinson

Pose: Headstand with bound angle legs variation.

Location: Chicago, during the first exquisite sunrise of March. My brother took this photograph.

Why I love going upside down: There's few experiences in life where I feel in total connection with my body, mind, heart, breath and soul like when comfortable in an inversion. Sirsasana feels simultaneously grounding and uplifting, providing this uniquely beautiful sensation of being in pure balance, right in the grips of the present moment. I'm grateful to live next to this natural wonder, sunrise at Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline in my sights is an unforgettable experience. 

Daniel Scott

Pose: Handstand.

Location: Seoul, South Korea. Photo by Kadri Kurgun.

Why I love going upside down: Inversions are amazing teachers, giving us vital perspective to find our true north. When up is down and left is right, what are you gonna do when things get flipped asana over teakettle?

Rachel Brathen

Pose: Lotus Headstand on a paddle board.

Location: Aruba.

Why I love going upside down: It flips your whole perspective. Who is to say what is right side up? Inverting yourself does wonders for your mind — you need to stay absolutely present. Those moments of bliss, of presence, is why i keep coming back to inversions ... What problem could you possibly have to wrap your mind around when you're balancing on your hands? That's right. None!

Amy Landry

Pose: Headstand with bound angle legs variation.
Location: Verve For Life yoga studio, Australia. Photo by Renee Bell/NFE Design.

Why I love going upside down: I love to challenge my mental perspective, and to stimulate my internal organs, circulation, and my glands. Inversions are a great way to keep a fearless, child-like spirit!

Ashley Albrand

Pose: Handstand.

Location: City Yoga, Los Angeles. Photo by Tara Rice.

Why I love going upside down: I love the polarity shift of going upside down! I enjoy the physical benefits of inversions and it's my ancient self in-alignment with my dharma to help others connect with their fearless floating, and free cosmic infinite self. For some of us, we self-actualize through the physical body. The practices of yoga including meditation, pranayama, and asana connect us to source. 

Derek Beres

Pose: Scorpion.

Location: New York City.

Why I love going upside down: The only thing you can focus on when inverting is exactly what you're doing—start spacing out and you stumble. Great metaphor for the entirety of the practice. 

Last But Not Least... Jason Wachob & Caroline Casper From MindBodyGreen

We're not rockstar yogis, but we thought we'd include ourselves anyway :)

Pose: Handstand, courtesy of the wall.

Location: MindBodyGreen's Brooklyn office.

Why I love going upside down:

Caroline: It's invigorating and gives me energy.

Jason: I really don't. I'm 6'7"!