As a Yogini who is still working on her inversion game, I thought it would be nice to highlight to you the actual benefits of getting upside down.
Getting upside down can raise a lot of fear in us, simply because it is very unnatural for the body. However, once you find out just how much good it does to said body, you will be wanting to get upside down every day.
“Sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down
so you can learn how to live right side up.”
An inversion is most generally categorised as any asana in which the head is below the heart. We will get back to the actual postures later on in this article, but before that, here are my top reasons why Inverting is GOOD for you!
Reversing the blood flow in the body and improving circulation:
Using gravity to provide the brain with more oxygen and blood will increase mental functioning and improve concentration, memory, and processing abilities.
Increasing immunity and preventing illness:
The lymphatic system is a key player in keeping the body healthy. Lymph moves through the body to pick up toxins and bacteria which will be later eliminated by the lymph nodes. Playing with gravity and muscle contraction will allow lymph to more easily travel into the respiratory system where much of the toxins enter the body.
Getting upside down into heating inversions such as handstand or headstand and getting more blood moving to the brain will results not only in physical invigoration but mental revitalisation as well.
Getting upside down into cooling inversions such as shoulderstand or legs up the wall will calm the nervous system, thereby activating the parasympathetic nervous system and producing feelings of balance and calm.
Being able to kick up into a handstand or pincha and actually staying there brings a feeling of control and strength, reinforcing the feeling that you are capable of anything.
But before you get there, those many attempts work as an amazing reminder that it’s also about the journey, not just the destination.
Giving you a new perspective on life:
Being upside down literally forces you to see the world from a different perspective, teaching you that there is always another way to approach a situation, person or problem.
Finally, Inversions are fun!
Once you get passed the “scary” feeling of being upside down and potentially losing balance, once you learn how to fall out of an inversion safely, there is only room left for fun and testing out your capacity to get upside down and stay there!
If you feel discouraged because the only inversions you ever see online are your headstands, handstands or forearm stands, remember that there are safer and less scary versions such as shoulder stands, down dogs, standing forward folds, legs up the wall, and happy baby.
DISCLAIMER: Like all things sports, there are certain contraindications to getting upside down, notably if you have the following injuries or illnesses: unmedicated high blood pressure, some heart conditions, neck injuries, recent stroke, detached retina, glaucoma, and epilepsy. Talk with your doctor and teacher if you are unsure about your status.