Find Fun, Challenge, and Healing in Upside-Down Poses
- Start slow
There are many preparation poses for full inversions. Dolphin pose (top image) prepares you for headstand; plough pose can be considered a preparation pose for shoulder stand, and the downward-facing dog is actually the foundation for handstand. Work to perfect these poses and build confidence in them before attempting full inversions.
- Use a wall
Always start headstands, handstands, and forearm balances near a wall. Come into the pose far enough away from the wall that you can balance without touching it yet it is there to support you as you come in and out of balance.
Using a friend as a spotter is also helpful. Just make sure they let you attempt to balance on your own and aren’t holding you in the position.
- Don’t be afraid to fall
As long as you are relaxed, a fall is usually not injurious. Just be careful not to fall on your head or twist your neck as you fall.
The benefits of inversions are endless and include muscular, neurological, and hormonal aspects of the body:
Most inversions require a great deal of core strength. The muscles of the arms, neck, and shoulders are also engaged. The act of inverting the body and changing the flow of gravity also invigorates and tones the internal organs.
The flow of blood, oxygen, and internal fluids is increased throughout the body, which nourishes and detoxifies the body’s circulatory, neurological, and digestive systems.
Almost all inversions stimulate the sixtha chakra, which is related to your pituitary, or master gland. This gland regulates and balances the entire endocrine system, which has a powerful and positive effect on one’s well being.
Specific inversions directly affect specific glands. The headstand stimulates the pineal gland. Forearm balances stimulate the thyroid and thymus gland while shoulder stands calm the activity of these glands. Handstands and shoulder stands also stimulate the pancreas.
The increased blood flow to the brain in inversions has a cleansing effect on one’s mental state. The act of balancing also increases one’s skills of focus and concentration and has a calming effect on the mind.
Inversions also strengthen one’s sense of the mind/body connection (how each affects the other).
Effect on Longevity
Inversions lower stress and blood pressure and help keep the functions of the body in good working order through toning, cleansing, and hormonal balance. Including inversions in your fitness routine is among the best ways to insure joyful aging.
The simple act of going upside down revitalizes one’s youthful attitude, awakening the playfulness and boldness of one’s inner child.