Inversions are yoga postures where the head is lower than the heart. This includes headstand, forearm stand and handstand. Downward facing dog and dolphin pose are also a gentler form of inversion.
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The brain triggers fear once it is inverted because our body isn’t naturally designed that way. But what is natural is to feel fear when one is just starting to dive into the journey of inversions. But great things often times have scary beginnings. Practicing against the wall helps psychologically in reducing the fear of falling back and hurting yourself while learning. But once inversions become an individual‘s 2nd nature, there are enormous amount of benefits it extends both to the body and the mind.
More than 60% of our body is composed of water making it very responsive to any change in altitude and gravitational pulls.
Inversions help lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation.
Working against gravity regulates the flow of blood. Freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs and provides oxygen to the brain, promoting improvement in its overall performance. The lower body is drained of its fluids during an inversion as a reaction to gravity. Venus return is a system of single way valves at alternate points that stops any slipstream of the fluids and assure that they are traveling to the heart. A person has to make his/her heart pump at a very high rate doing cardio, such as running, to get the fluids circulating downwards towards feet. Inversions offers a gentler way to regulate circulation with the aid of gravity.
Enhance immunity and aids detoxification.
Inversion stimulates the lymphatic system of our body. Our lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating the bacteria and toxins in our body and it functions as a reaction to gravity and muscle contractions. Being inverted gives the lymph nodes a boost to easily white blood cells and antibodies to one of the most toxic parts of the human body, our respiratory system. It is like the sewage system of our body, keeping us healthy and flushing away the toxins.
Develop balance, strength of the upper body and core.
The body must act as one. Not as parts, but as one. Control your body to hold itself while inverted. Most of our lives, we are on our feet. Putting weight on our arms would require strength and balance and both can be developed as you go deeper into yoga. Regular practice of engaging the core to keep alignment, moving the body as a single system and supporting your weight with arms, even if you are practicing against a wall, will constantly build your strength and familiarize your muscles to the movement.
Breathing is a great way to calm the mind and body. Inversions demands great focus and if you approach the posture with hesitation, fear or anxiety, your arms will wiggle. This will cause your body to become tense and eventually you will fall, hurting yourself. You have to be in the moment. Release yourself of any fear, focus on your breathing, listen to your body and accept that things takes time. Do not force yourself to do anything that hurts or you will end up with an injury.
Isn’t if fun to learn something new? Know you can defy your own mind. Achievement is when you have properly inverted yourself. But what plays a big part in this is the developed sense of patience and humbleness as you slowly build your strength and familiarize yourself with the techniques. You will gain an understanding of your body and what it can and cannot do. The calmness of the mind as you become conscious of the happenings both on and off the mat will become imminent, and that is a priceless prize!
Note that not everyone is meant for inversions. Please consult your doctor first if you have any previous medical issues before starting with this practice. Be mindful with the movements, with your breathing and your thoughts. When done with good intentions, surely the benefits of inversions will reward you with enormous treasures!