Adopt inversions as part of your yoga practice to gain physical and psychological benefits.
An inversion is an asana or yoga pose where the head is ultimately situated below the heart.
There are many inversion poses. The Shoulder Stand, Headstand and Handstand are first likely to come to mind when one thinks ‘inversions.’ Fear may hold many people back from trying inversions because going upside down does not come naturally to most people and the road to a perfectly balanced inversion pose is usually with a few falls along the way.
However, just as there are some even more complex balancing inversions, there are also some easier inversion poses, such as the Downward Dog and Standing Forward Bend, which are certainly less ‘terrifying’. There is therefore no reason why you cannot try the benefits of practising inversions for yourself.
Let us explore some of the benefits of being upside down:
Physical Benefits of inversion poses
Inversions strengthen the shoulders, arms, legs, back and core muscles.
They improve circulation
The change in the direction of gravity increases blood flow and improves circulation.
Inversions increase the amount of oxygenated blood to the brain, sensory organs, vital organs and tissues. It is even said they reduce wrinkles!
Lymph flow is increased due to muscle contractions and the direction of gravity, allowing toxins to be more effectively eliminated.
Inversions can reenergise. For example the headstand and handstand stimulate the nervous system and create heat in the body. If you feel drained or tired, get upside down – it works wonders! You will revitalise body and mind.
Psychological benefits of inversion poses
They teach humility
Working towards an inversion requires humility and perseverance. We learn to fall out of a pose and get back up and try again.
They boost confidence
Once you make it to get upside down, inversions are great confidence boosters.
They improve mental function
The increased flow of blood and oxygen to the brain increases mental functioning and improves concentration and memory.
They change perspective
Being upside down changes your view on the world quite literally. There is a deeper knowing that can come from the experience of approaching a situation from a different stance. This unusual way of viewing the world can teach us to try something different in other aspects of our lives, helping us release habit or our usual reaction towards a situation.