Turning upside down is super fun, whether it is a full on handstand or a soft forward fold. And what's more, inversions offer extensive benefits — physically, emotionally, and mentally — for everyone!
Being head-down-bum-up creates playfulness in our bodies and our minds and lends us to better heart health, proper metabolism, a better mood and increased focus. And remember "inversion" doesn't mean handstand only. It includes anything where your head is below your heart.
Here are just a few more reasons to turn upside down and practice inversions daily:
1. Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Turning upside down in a Forward Fold like Rag Doll Pose encourages the entire body to calm as the central nervous system balances out our fight or flight response, reducing cortisol levels that can cause excess stress and anxiety.
Inversions like handstand and headstand can create a mini moment of panic before this tranquility sets in, but the overall effect is a sense of calm and peacefulness.
2. Build Concentration
To stay upside down in one of the balancing postures, like Standing Split or Forearm Stand, for any amount of time requires a considerable amount of focus and concentration. Practicing this frequently will build your ability to concentrate in other situations off the mat.
3. Improve Circulation of Lymph and Blood
When your feet are raised up above your heart, the lymph begins to drain and thereby the circulation of fluids and blood in the body has an opportunity to reset. Having good circulation is pivotal to good health. This could be as simple as Legs Up The Wall, which feels so yummy after a long day on your feet, or perhaps Shoulder Stand.
4. Increase Productivity
Down Dog or a straddle fold will work well here if your at work. Basically the idea is that you are bringing fresh blood to the brain. It works two fold; boosting energy by bringing new oxygen to the brain more quickly and also increasing brain function by triggering new neurons to fire in the brain by flipping your perspective. Perfect for students or during a tricky project at work.
5. Strengthen Shoulders
Any variation of headstand will provide this strengthening action for you. The most important thing is to remember not to rest all your weight in your head.
6. Balance Hormone Production
Turning upside down is beneficial to all the glands in the body (adrenal, pituitary, thyroid and more), which help with hormone production and maintenance.
Whether you are male or female, your body runs on hormones to balance out your mood, skin, muscular tone, bone health and metabolism.
7. Change Your Attitude
As mentioned above, inversions will create calm, reduce anxiety and increase productive energy — all of which will change your mood, but also change your perspective and give you a moment to collect some clarity on any given situation.
It is important to be ale to see all sides of an idea, opinion or situation even if you disagree with most of the view points. Being able to see those perspectives can create a deeper understanding of everyone involved and form a better plan of action.
So unroll your mat and unfold into a Downward Facing Dog, Straddle Fold or even a Headstand. Allow your body the chance to absorb and utilize all these yummy benefits and more on a regular basis.