10 Benefits of Yoga Inversions – Blog

Inversions are often considered really challenging and advanced poses, and while a Headstand or even a Handstand definitely is there are loads of other inversions that are more accessible, but still allow us to reap the full benefits of including some time upside down in our practice. An inversion is any pose that takes your hips higher than your heart and your heart higher than your head, and there are so many both physical and mental benefits of yoga inversions. Here are our top 10:

1. Improves Circulation

Inversions encourage venous return, which means that it encourages the blood to travel from the extremities and back to the heart. Normally venous return happens from muscular tension when we move our bodies and the heart works hard to deliver oxygenated blood to the brain and whole body, so getting upside is gentle way to achieve this while giving the heart a rest.

2. Builds Strength

Building up to a full inversion with your feet in the air can take time, but even simpler inversions with just your head below your heart, such as Dolphin Pose or 3 Legged Downwards Dog, helps you build strength in your arms, shoulders and whole core.

3. Improves Focus

As we work through the challenges that come with practicing inversions, such as fear of falling and muscle tensions from building strength, we are often forced to tune inwards and become very focused on the pose. Once you feel comfortable in inversions, whether it is a simple Standing Forward Fold or a full Headstand, you will begin to find and feel a strong sense of calm come over you in the poses, as the central nervous system balances out our fight or flight response, reducing cortisol levels that can cause excess stress and anxiety.

4. Boosts Immune System

The entire lymphatic system plays a huge part in our physical health, as network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins and waste. One of the benefits of yoga inversions is that, when we turn upside down, we stimulate our lymphatic system, increasing the flow of white blood cells and lymph throughout the body, and strengthening the immune system.

5. Energizes

When you go upside down you are not only increasing the blood flow to your heart, but also to your brain. In turn you will come out of inversions feeling energized and clear-headed. The freshly oxygenated blood improves your brain function, releases neurotransmitters and helps balance hormones.

6. Relaxes the Nervous System

While strong inversions such as Dolphin pose and Handstands can be energizing and invigorating, other inversions like a Shoulderstand or Plow Pose at the end of your practice, can have a calming effect on your mind and body as they can activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

7. Aids Digestion

Inverting and getting upside allows gravity to work for your digestive system, and while this may seem a little counterintuitive, it’s true. Getting upside down encourages movement from your small intestine and through to the ascending colon, while the core work of inversions encourages movement with pressure on the walls of the digestive tract.

8. Boosts Confidence and Patience

Practicing inversions are often something we consider pretty “advanced”, but the truth is that anyone can practice and experience the benefits of getting upside down. An inversion with your hips above your heart and heart above your head, means that your feet don’t have to leave the ground. All inversions however require a certain amount of strength and focus. The confidence, patience and strength you slowly build by incorporating small inversions like Dolphin Pose or maybe even a balance challenge with a Crow Pose, will translate into all aspects of your life.

9. Changes your Perspective

Of course literally flipping things upside down, lets you see things from a different perspective. One of the benefits of yoga inversions is that, sometimes taking a little time to shift your energy with an inversion focused practice or a couple of minutes in a headstand if that is a pose you have in your usual practice, can help you feel newly energized and inspired.

10. They’re Fun!

Getting upside down encourages a sense of childish playfulness in your practice. With props such as a FeetUp Stool or a few Yoga Blocks stacked underneath each shoulder, even challenging and full inversions are quite accessible. Getting that lift-off and playing with your balance upside down is such a fun challenge.

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