Hello yogis! I hope you’ve been able to incorporate the three aspects from last week’s blog – breathing, focus and alignment – in your yoga practice and in your everyday life. For this week we are diving into learning about the benefits of inversions. If you’ve been considering joining an upcoming headstand or handstand workshop, read on to learn more about inversions!
Let’s start with defining inversion. What does it even mean? In yoga, inversion refers to poses in which the yogi’s heart is at a higher level than the head. Thus “inverting” your body from its normal upright position. However, not all inversion poses require that one is completely upside down. There are milder poses that you can practice to overcome the fear associated with going upside down, like shoulder stand, child’s pose and down-ward facing dog pose.
Now that we have established what inversion is we can explore the benefits of it! Have you ever heard of the expression “turn that frown upside down”? Well, what it basically means is to be happy instead of sad. When doing an inversion pose your blood circulation and your lymphatic drainage improves which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and release a rush of endorphins. This in turn helps the brain to regulate mood swings and reduce anxiety or depression – it’s a natural mood booster! But the benefits don’t stop there!
Enhances muscular strength
Yoga inversions target specific muscle groups and help to build strength to hold the body in a stretched position which increases muscular strength, flexibility and endurance. And in time improves better limb flexibility and range of motion.
When practicing inversions we may face different challenges, such as fear of falling, and we are often forced to tune inwards and become very focused on the pose. But as you begin to feel more comfortable in the pose you will also begin to find a strong sense of calmness. Your overall focus and concentration increases as this pose helps the central nervous system to relax and balances out our fight or flight response and forces you to tune inwards.
Boosts immune system
The entire lymphatic system plays a huge part in our physical health. As lymph moves through your body it picks up toxins and waste that your body needs to get rid of and helps maintain fluid balance. When we turn upside down we stimulate our lymphatic system, increasing the flow of white blood cells and lymph throughout the body and strengthening the immune system. And it also may reduce pain and swelling in the lower limbs.
Increases confidence and patience
Practicing inversions are often something we consider as pretty difficult or advanced. It takes time and practice to perform them properly, but once you’ve mastered the art of getting upside down you will feel more confident and proud. All of your hard work paid off! The confidence, patience and strength that you slowly build will translate into all aspects of your daily life. And you will embrace new challenges and obstacles with a “I can do it” attitude.
Yoga does not always have to be serious. Your practice is a wonderful time to invite fun into your yoga mat and life. Getting upside down encourages a sense of childish playfulness in your practice! So smile and open your heart to having fun on your mat!
Inversions can bring with them many benefits and are such a fun part of yoga practice. However, it’s always important to honor and listen to your body. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel good or is painful. It’s also important to keep in mind that inversion yoga involves advanced moves. If you’re not sure or feel uncomfortable doing it by yourself, perform them under the supervision of an expert to avoid any injuries. If you’re interested in trying out, or just want to improve your inversions, Yoga Roots have a few great inversion workshops in November that you can attend!
Be safe, have fun and treat your body well dear yogis! Until next time.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3425136/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475706/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691728/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4278136/