14 Feb Inversions: The Upside of Getting Upside Down
Did you know downward facing dog, one of yoga’s foundational poses, is actually an inversion? Inversions are yoga poses that position the heart above the head.
There is such a wide variety of poses that help you to get upside down. From the subtle to the more intense asanas, inversions do not necessarily require you to stand on your head! These types of poses are numerous in number and style, and deliver an array of positive health changes that help your body and your mind to feel good!
What Are the Benefits of Inversions?
When integrating inversions into your practice, especially the more intense options such as headstands, you will feel the effects in your muscles immediately!
These postures recruit more muscles and activate larger muscle groups, to keep you steady and balanced. You don’t have to hold these stronger inversions for long. With continued practice you will build greater strength, tone your body and improve the power of your core.
Blood acts as the courier service in our bodies. When pumped around our circulatory system by our hearts, our blood delivers all the necessary nutrients our bodies need to survive.
When upside down in an inverted posture, our blood can travel more easily to the heart due to gravity. This helps our heart pump nourishing blood more effectively to our organs.
This increase in nutrient-rich blood flow provides numerous health benefits. With more oxygenated blood reaching the brain during inversions, be prepared to experience improved problems solving, memory and clarity of thoughts.
Not all inversions are the same. Several inversions including shoulders stands or legs up the wall have different effects on the body due to the placement of the head and heart being on the same level, not one above the other.
This position of the head and heart in these ‘less intense’ asanas has a cooling effect on the body. It actively calms your nervous systems and effectively eases the body and mind.
Using shoulder stands and legs up the wall is a great way to wind down your nervous system, eliminate stress and instil a sense of peace within yourself.
The Lymphatic System helps us rid our body of bacteria and fight illness. Unlike the blood, the Lymph fluid which carries all the good things that help our immunity remain strong does not pump around the body. Instead it relies on the movements of muscles to push and squeeze it into motion.
Inversions help to generate the movement that drives the lymphatic system. These poses add the element of gravity to help cleanse the system, thus removing unwanted toxins and letting our immune system remain in a healthy condition.
On a deeper level, Inversions have a profound effect on our sense of self and emotional well being. The act of simply getting upside down lets you see the world and yourself from a different view.
The physical act of changing your perspective can encourage a positive shift of focus. This often helps you to more effectively contemplate situations that you may be struggling to find a solution for.
Try inversions as a means of conducting an introspection into yourself and considering ideas that you are yet to fully uncover.
The best thing about inversions is they help you to lighten up! Getting upside down is fun and helps you to feel like a kid again – no fears, no worries, no judgement!
Don’t worry if you can’t do it at first! Committing to including inversions in your practice is a big challenge but doing so helps you to learn to appreciate what is and not feel defeated due to failure.
By trying and trying again, you will learn to release any judgemental ideals. You will be able to build positive awareness of yourself and begin to experience happiness in all that you do, without labelling it as right or wrong.
So have a go! Ask you yoga teacher for advice and include some inversion that suit your practice.