Inversions include a wide variety of poses and elicit different reactions depending on who you are talking to - maybe they seem intimidating or unnecessary, but a growing body of research points to the idea that inversions are correlated with a wide range of health benefits. Whether you’re looking to mix up your fitness routine, cultivate a new skill, or find a way to break up the work day, inversions may be an excellent choice!
Although many people may immediately think of handstands when considering inversions, there are a number of gentle options to ease you into an inverted lifestyle. A few common yoga inversions that most people would feel comfortable trying include down dog, standing forward folds and legs up the wall. You can start with these poses, holding them for a few deep breaths, and gradually move towards more advanced inversions.
Now that you know just how accessible inversions can be, you may be wondering about those aforementioned health benefits. These are just a few good reasons to try an inversion a day:
1. Improved Circulation
Inversions improve circulation by reversing the blood flow in the body. You’ll get more oxygen flow to your brain, which results in increased concentration and an overall improvement in mental acuity. This heightened circulation can also provide a much-needed midday energy boost.
2. Immunity Support and Allergy Relief
If you’re feeling stuffed-up from allergies, inverted positions improve blood flow to the sinuses and can potentially help flush out mucus from your lungs. Moreover, studies have found that hanging out upside down can improve the functioning of your lymphatic system, which plays a large role in your body’s immune response systems. So whether your congestion is caused by the common cold or cedar fever, you now have an even better reason to play around with inversions.
3. Better Abs, Back and Balance
Needless to say, human beings are far more accustomed to walking around on their feet than their hands. Challenging your body with new inversions has the benefit of a strengthened core and better balance, as well as relief from back pain and improved posture. If you’re tired of doing crunches and Russian twists, try holding a headstand for 10-30 seconds at a time as a great new challenge for your abs!
4. Improve Your Mood
Inversions have been correlated with better mood, decreased symptoms of depression and the normalization of the stress hormone cortisol. We all produce cortisol when faced with life’s daily stressors, but throwing in even a simple leg up the wall pose a couple of times a day can help your body stem the overproduction of this hormone.
5. Give Your Heart a Rest
When you turn your body upside down, the blood that rushes to your brain allows your heart rate and blood pressure to lower. As a consequence, your heart isn't doing as much work in these poses as it does throughout the rest of the day. The verdict is still out on whether these effects last throughout the day, but they are certainly beneficial in the short term.
*As with most physical activities, inversions aren’t recommended for everyone. If you have high blood pressure, a neck injury, epilepsy, a serious heart condition, recent stroke or glaucoma we strongly encourage you to talk to your physician before trying out inversions!
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