Let's talk inversions. Ever wonder WHY you should make inversions a part of your practice? There are some specific benefits that follow you off of your mat. Here's a few:
Inversions reverse the blood flow in the body, improving circulation. This improves your mental functioning (processing, memory and concentration). If you practice inversions you know that there is a rush of clarity when you come right side up again.
Increases immunity to prevent illness. Turning upside down allows the blood to rush to the brain, lungs and heart. Inversions also stimulate the lymphatic system, increasing immunity.
Energizes. Inversions wake.you.up. Seriously. You know that mid day nap you are always craving? Try an inversion instead.
Increases core strength. Clearly inversions require some intentional core strength. As you lift your legs (even if you have to kick up) think about engaging your transverse abdominals. It's the core that HOLDS you in most of your inversions.
Lengthens. Inversions like handstand, headstand and a forearm balance create a lot of length. You want to think about intentionally creating a long spine, drawing the hips away from the shoulders. It's not just about getting the feet over the head - it's about stretching up through the toes and feeling the full length of the spine, decompressing from a lifetime of gravity pulling the spine in the opposite direction.
Improves balance. Inversions can be tricky in the balance department. They aren't always easy and that's not a bad thing. This is where your Holy Yoga practice becomes a PRACTICE. You've gotta work it, friends. And keep working it. Keep reaping the benefits and don't give up faith. Balance will come to you.
There are many more benefits to an inversion, and I'm pretty sure the best one is that it's FUN. Inversions are fun to play with. I get it that they can be scary too. When you're just beginning your yoga practice you probably aren't going to attempt a headstand. Nor should you. Practices grow and change. Don't rush yourself. The more you practice, the more you'll learn to listen to your body. You'll know when you're ready to try something new. Know that, even seasoned yogis, don't always practice big inversions. It's not always appropriate to your practice. That's okay. Maybe try for a wide forward fold.
Inversions aren't always ideal if you are pregnant, especially if you are in your 2nd or 3rd trimester. Your doctor or midwife would probably tell you that you don't really want to do anything that would decrease blood flow to the baby's heart. I personally practiced inversions almost all the way through my last pregnancy, but I didn't stay in them long. And, by inversions, I don't mean headstand. I'm talking about a wide forward fold and other postures that wouldn't risk me falling and injuring the baby.
Some practitioners also choose to not practice inversions during their time of the month. They might be of the opinion that an inversion can cause endometriosis. It honestly just doesn't make sense to me to invert during my menses. Why reverse what nature is doing? It's a nice little break for a few days and then I'm back to my full practice.
If you're making inversions a part of your practice, we want to see! We're having so much fun on Instagram and on the facebook page! Post your photos and hashtag with #inversioneveryday.
As always, questions are welcome!
*Check out Mind Full Collective for more yoga and Jesus inspired posts!