Why do yogis go upside down? Because it’s fun and also really good for you too! The practice of yoga is great because it helps to challenge our preconceptions and open ourselves to new experiences. Going upside down definitely qualifies as a new experience plus there are tons of health benefits to boot!
Here are some of the extraordinary health benefits you’ll experience when you introduce and increase inversions in your practice!
Inversions reverse the blood flow in the body and improve circulation:
Work smarter, not harder! Use gravity to provide the brain with more oxygen and blood thus increasing mental functioning, and improving concentration, memory, and processing abilities.
Increase immunity and prevent illness:
The lymphatic system is a key player in keeping the body healthy. As lymph moves through the body they picks up toxins and bacteria to be eliminated by the lymph nodes. Because lymph moves as a result of muscle contractions and gravity, getting upside down allows lymph to more easily travel into the respiratory system where much of the toxins enter the body.
Feeling that 4pm slump coming on? Get upside down! Heating inversions such as handstand and forearm balance get more blood moving to the brain, which results not only in physical invigoration but mental revitalization as well.
While the heating inversions (handstand and forearm balance) energize, inversions of the cooling type (shoulder stand & legs up the wall) work to calm the nervous system, thereby activating the parasympathetic nervous system and producing feelings of balance and calm.
Once balancing on one or two legs has been mastered, the obvious next step is finding equanimity on hands and head.
Increase core strength:
Shoulders and arms—especially for women who tend to be stronger in the lower body, inversions create body balance by developing upper body strength.
While that first kick up into handstand might induce varying levels of trepidation, once we “get it”, that upcoming job interview suddenly doesn’t seem so daunting.
And before we “get it”, those many attempts remind us of how much more we have to learn, and how truly it is about the said “journey” not simply the destination.
Literally give us a new perspective on life:
As we become accustomed to reacting to our world in a predictable way, inversions teach us through metaphor that there is always another way to approach the situation/person/problem.
Inversions are fun:
Inversions reintroduce us to our inner child and remind us that while yoga is a contemplative endeavor in many ways, the asana practice is also a time to be playful and light hearted!
If you made it to the end of this post on why inversions rock we hope to see you at The Green Yogi in Manhattan Beach this Saturday at Tamal’s Workshop!