Inversions are everywhere
Inversions are definitely having a moment in the limelight on every social media platform! For most of us, when we start exploring inversions they can be quite daunting, and push us out of our comfort zone – which is not a bad thing. They force us to see the world from a different perspective physically and mentally, and plays with our relationship to gravity. Some inversions are calming – like shoulderstand and Viparita Karani; and others are energising – handstand, headstand and peacock. Here’s the great thing about yoga – there is inversions hidden everywhere in the practice, giving you all the same incredible array of benefits. All poses where the heart is elevated above the head is considered an inversion. You don’t need to be throwing handstands everywhere you go to get the benefits. Having said that, if that’s your buzz go for it, they are incredibly energising and give happy vibes on tap. Maybe there’s a good case for making everyone take a morning handstand all in the name of a better world! Here are 5 of the many benefits of inversions:
1.Reverse blood flow
So how do they give you energy and instant happiness? The heart needs to pump hard to go against gravity and distribute blood to the brain. When you take an inversion you’re giving it a helping hand and giving the brain extra oxygenated blood. This is what causes the extra surge of energy, improved focus and concentration, reduced stress and anxiety and the instant hit of happiness.
When the circulation is stimulated the whole body starts to flush out toxins from all the systems, particularly the lymph system, enabling the body to work more efficiently. We have become a bit obsessed with methods of detoxing through magic formulas and superfoods. The body is very efficient at doing its job. Inversions can help it from the inside without having to add the latest detoxification cocktail to your health regime.
3.Boost the immune system
When the toxins are being regularly removed from the body by the lymph system, the immune system can concentrate on building itself up, and fighting everyday bacteria that naturally enters the body. The increased circulation also improves gut health. 80% of our immune system is located in the gut and 95% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the bowels. Which goes to reckon that with a happy gut come a happy and healthy person.
4.Regulate your hormones
Inversions regulate the endocrine system which is made up of all the hormone producing glands. The hormones are the catalyst for pretty much every function in the body from the production of energy through the metabolism, growth and regeneration, heart rate, sexual function and circadian sleep rhythm. For the body to work optimally the hormones need to be balanced with each other. For example if the glands are firing too much cortisol the other glands, for example melatonin, will be deficient and affect functions like sleep patterns.
In yoga philosophy it’s said that there is a fluid secreted by the pineal gland in the head called Amriti, also known as the ‘fluid of immortality’. In our everyday upright position the Amriti flows down the body and is burnt up by prana energy. Inversions pool the Amriti back into the crown of the head and brings with it regeneration and vibrant health. Experiencing life at a higher resolution!
Practicing any of the inversions on a regular bases definitely brings a yoga glow to your complexion and gives you a different perspective of the world. Print out this inversion sequence which has lots of hidden inversions to spend a bit of time in and works up towards headstand if it’s part of your practice.
Ruth is a Dublin based yoga teacher and creator of Yogaru.ie a yoga lifestyle website promoting a yoga way of living on and off the mat. She is passionate about helping students to explore their own personal journey, and to develop their home practice using her uniquely designed 108 ASANA yoga sequencing cards.
She writes for several online yoga and lifestyle blogs – with the intention of sharing Yogaru sequences to help yogis embrace the many benefits of yoga and take a bit of time to pause, slow down and cultivate a sense of their own unique formula for balance.