An inversion is any yoga pose that involves literally inverting the body upside down, such as a headstand, shoulderstand, or forearm balance. Inversions require a lot of strength and allover body control. Therefore, it’s common for a lot of yogis to see inversions as something only more experienced yogis can do. In reality though, inversions can be safely practiced by all who practice yoga. Trying these more advanced poses can actually help you break out of your comfort zone and realize that you can do any pose you set your mind to, in time!
Below are ten good reasons to give inversions a try in your yoga routine.
Let gravity do the work for you! When your body is inverted, the blood flow to your brain is notably increased. As a result, your ability to focus, concentrate and process tasks is improved. In addition, your blood carries oxygen and nutrients that nourish the brain.
Inversions can help heat the body. Headstand, handstand, and forearm stand are all heating inversions. These inversions allow for more blood flow to reach the brain, which is both invigorating and revitalizing, resulting in increased energy and mental stamina.
Shoulder stand and legs up the wall are more calming and cooling inversions. The parasympathetic nervous system is activated in these postures, which helps calm the body and mind and give you a sense of balance and peace.
Your body’s health partly relies upon your lymphatic system. As lymph moves through your body, it picks up toxins and carries them to lymph nodes to be eliminated. Lymph is moved through the body by muscle contraction and gravity. By turning your body upside down, you help move lymph to key areas of the body (like the lungs) more quickly and easily.
Learning to find balance in inversions can help bring balance into your life off the mat as well. Holding an inversion requires patience, practice, and being present in the moment; all qualities that can help create balance in your life.
Increased Muscle and Core Strength:
Shoulder, arm, and core muscles are all activated in inversions, which increases your strength in those key muscle groups. Inversions are a good way to balance out to those who have stronger lower bodies.
Like life, yoga is about the journey – the experience – not the destination. Each attempt at an inversion is a learning experience. When you get back up and try again after falling down, you learn to be patient and kind to your body.
In order to gain new perspective, you have to look at things from a different angle. Inversions, and yoga overall, invite you to step outside of your comfort zone and take a look at your conscious and unconscious habits and patterns. By literally turning yourself upside down you invite change and new perspective into your consciousness.
While it is nice when things come easily to you, accomplishing something that took practice and effort is much more rewarding. When you work to achieve something, it builds your confidence so you can overcome challenges in the future.
Fun and Playfulness:
Yoga does not always have to be serious; life is already serious enough. Your practice is a wonderful time to invite fun and playfulness into your life. Smile, do what you love, and open your heart to having fun on your mat!
As always, it is important to honor your body. Do not do anything that doesn’t feel good or is painful. Also, please be aware that there are certain conditions and illnesses that make inversions unsafe so be sure to consult with your physician before attempting them. Heart disease, stroke, neck injuries, glaucoma, and epilepsy are all conditions that could be complicated by inversions. In addition, always make sure that your yoga instructor is aware of any health conditions you may have before you begin your practice.
Be safe and treat your body well dear yogis! Always remember to practice today so that you can practice tomorrow.