February 18, 2011
i do a lot of handstands. i’ll kick up against a wall while my coffee is brewing, or do a headstand for a few minutes as a nice break from the computer. it probably makes more sense for me, as i grew up deeply rooted in gymnastics, then went on to be a collegiate cheerleader, and have since put my skills to a more healthy and sustainable practice: yoga. to say the least, i’ve spent a lot of time upside down. but there’s more to it than that. it makes me feel good. it refreshes me, and makes me feel strong. inversions are healthy for several reasons, and today i’m going to discuss a few of them. are you with me?
want to set the mood? play jack johnson’s upside down!
first, there are several ways to invert, no matter what your skill level is. above, you’ll find a few of the more advanced inversions, but simply lying down with your feet up a wall will still give some of the same benefits (here’s a great beginner’s guide). find whatever is most comfortable to you, and don’t try anything you’re not confident with (that’s my disclaimer!). :)
in general, inversions cleanse as they squeeze and massage your inner organs and improve blood flow, efficiently flushing your body of toxins as they allow new blood to flow in. they leave you with a renewed sense of overall health and vitality.
10 reasons to go upside down:
- calm the brain, help relieve stress and mild depression. the increased circulation helps to increase blood circulation to the brain and deliver a higher amount of oxygen which help increase our level of concentration and mental sharpness.
- stimulate the thyroid and prostate glands and abdominal organs. inversions upset gravity and the pituitary and pineal gland become activated as they synergize to balance hormone levels in the body. the result? a revitalized and rejuvenated body.
- stretch the shoulders and neck, which is why this is such a great practice for anyone who sits while they work (like me!).
- tone the legs and booty. squeezing, kicking up and balancing will help get you toned in no time.
- improves digestion. there’s just nothing like turning everything upside to get things moving again. ;)
- relieve the symptoms of menopause, as inverting invigorates the brain, regulates hormones and helps shift and lighten your mood.
- reduce fatigue and help to alleviate insomnia. muscle tension is reported to decrease by 35% while inverting, which helps with anxiety, tension, and insomnia.
- therapeutic for asthma, infertility, sinusitis and headache.
- strengthen the shoulders, arms, and wrists.
- improve your sense of balance.
so are you ready to give it a try? you can do it! head on over to yoga journal to get step by step instructions on how to do each pose and find endless articles on the benefits of this kind of practice.