I. Love. Inversions.
If someone would have told me a few years ago that being upside down would be one of my favorite things, I would have thought that he/she was a few apples short of a bushel. Not only did I think that I couldn’t physically do it, I was scared to try. But, it’s true – I love inversions. Based on medical information and traditional yoga thought, there are many benefits to inversion that include:
- Increase of Oxygen Flow to the Brain
- Relief of Varicose Veins
- Improvement in Circulation and Acceleration the Cleansing of Blood and Lymph Fluids
- Reduction of Swelling in Legs
- Strengthens the Core
- Enhances Ability to Concentrate and Remain Focused
- Repositions Internal Organs Displaced by Gravity
- Relief of Stress
I find this list to be pretty accurate. When I’m upside down, I can feel the blood draining from my feet and legs; I can sense my circulation changing; I can feel my core muscles working; I can almost feel the stress and tension draining out of my head into the floor. And, even more pleasing for me, I feel happy. I don’t exactly know what it is about inversion, but it makes me so happy, practically giddy! I’m not even very good at most inversions, though I’m getting better from practice, but that doesn’t matter. Even if I’m wobbling all over the place…. Even if my silly spasming muscles are making my legs jerk around like a fish on the banks…. Even if I periodically fall right on my head…. They make me happy!
If all of the other benefits of inversion suddenly disappeared, I would still practice it, just because it makes me feel so good emotionally. If you don’t have inversion as a part of your yoga practice, or if you don’t do yoga on a regular basis, I highly recommend spending a little time upside down. You don’t have to start with a handstand or a headstand. Lay on your back and put your feet up the wall. Or, try a tripod pose (keeping your knees on your elbows). If fear is the issue, try an L shaped handstand. It’s not much easier in terms of muscle strength, but less scary if you are relatively new to inversions (image from YogaJournal).
Go ahead! Give it a try. Grab a mat and head for a wall. Or, go get your favorite elementary age child and have him/her teach you how to go upside down (kids can do it, because they aren’t so afraid and haven’t learned upside down is not “normal” yet). If none of those things seem possible, just lay down on your bed and let your head and arms hang down over the side to the floor. Ahhhh! The world is so much more agreeable when we’ve viewed it from the “wrong” way for a little bit.
Yours in inversion,