There is something breathtaking and therapeutic about inversions. Every morning, I challenge myself with a new inversion. Each day, my body feels different but one thing remains the same. My mind is silent and focused. My breath is even and balanced. My mind, body and soul is restored.
If you have done a headstand or two, you know the feeling. Inversions brings awareness to our breath and strengthens our balance and core. It is a powerful exercise to purify and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. The benefits don’t end there.
To help you get started, I have compiled 10 health benefits of practicing inversions. Practice once a day, every day and feel the difference.
Increases Circulation and Blood Flow. In inversion poses, we purposely turn ourselves upside down – defying gravity. While this is not our daily posture or physical stance, inversions reverse the blood flow in the body and improve circulation. Gravity goes to work as it stimulates the brain with more oxygen and blood, thus increasing mental functions and improved concentration, memory and processing abilities.
Increases Metabolism and Digestion. Inversion poses increase digestion and increases body heat. Reversing the pull of gravity allows the intestines to be cleansed while releasing congested blood in the colon.
Strengthens Deep Core Muscles. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. To hold a straight headstand for an extended period of time, one must engage the abdominal muscles – including the obliques, the rectus abdomen and the transverse abdomens. To really engage and strengthen the core, extend your legs by lifting and/or lowering both legs at the same time when you are coming in and out of the pose.
Tones the Upper Body. Inversions, specifically headstands or handstands, require a massive amount of shoulder, arm and upper back strength. To build up strength, start by holding a handstand against a wall for three sets of 10 seconds. As you work up the strength, you can move towards holding them for a minute or two at a time. The key is consistent practice, and in doing so, you will see your upper body strength increase.
Improves Your Balance. Inversions require strength in core and upper body, but it will also require substantial balancing skills in your to hold yourself up. To help improve your balance, begin by practicing against a wall. Once you have found your breath, balance and strength, gradually remove your feet off the wall for as long as possible. Continue to do this daily, and with practice, you enhance your balancing abilities while understanding which muscles to activate while in the pose.
Detoxifies Impurities. Inversions increases blood flow into your body’s lymphatic system, which works to remove various waste from your bloodstream. Stimulating it helps speed up and intensify the process to better eradicate these toxins.
Improves Cardiovascular Functions. Inversions alleviates some of the strain as de-oxygenated blood flows more easily from the extremities of the heart. This process, therefore, helps improve cardiovascular functions.
Boosts Your Energy and Mood. Inversions is a magic potion for a pick-me-up on a lazy day or an otherwise stressful day. It can make you feel lighter and happier with the increased blood flow to the brain. If anxious, inversions are great for de-stressing by reducing the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and activating the parasympathetic nervous system which helps produce feelings of balance and calm.
Nourishes Your Face. Sounds unlikely but very true. Inversions reverse the blood flow and increases the circulation to the skin, thereby stimulating a sequence of blood drain and flow to the face. Internally, it’s like a mini facial that nourishes the face!
Opens Your Mind to New Horizons. Inversions challenges our mind, body and soul to change a perspective in life. Whether it is a headstand or handstand, inversions metaphorically bring light to approaching life from a different angle.