Benefits of Yoga Inversions

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For the month of December, my local classes and I are having a focus of inversions. I chose this theme thoughtfully, since I’ve noticed over the years that my yoginis come in tired, rushed, and overbooked this time of year. What does this have to do with inversions? Glad you asked… Some inversions are relaxing (like Legs Up Wall Pose), and then some are mood boosting (like Shoulderstand, Handstand, etc). Both qualities seem, to me, like good ones to cultivate this time of year when life is busy. Read on for more information on how inversions can benefit you.

A lot of people get scared off when you mention the word “inversion” and I understand why. However, it’s not all Headstands and Handstands. Some common inversions that you are probably already doing are Forward Fold, Downward Dog, and Dolphin. Basically, you can think of an inversion as any pose where your head is below your heart.Inversions have health benefits as well. This is mainly because an inversion changes your orientation to gravity. Gravity is constantly pulling down on your entire body day after day, and since your body is made up of mostly water, it is sensitive to that downward pull. So when you invert your body, you are giving your body (and your heart) some relief from that.

Now, I am no doctor, and my summary below is from what I’ve learned over the years of going through yoga trainings, textbooks & books I’ve read for those trainings, articles and even personal experience. There are, however, loads of articles that cite actual studies if you want to dive deeper on this topic. Think of my post here as a quick introduction.

Benefits Of Inversions...
• Gives your body & heart a break from gravity
• Good for circulation, as it encourages venous return to the heart
• Enhances the health of lung tissue
• Good for the lymphatic system, which also means:
          • Good for your immune system
          • Good for removing wastes throughout the body
• Energy boosting (this is believed to be due to blood flowing more freely to the brain, which means that oxygen is also flowing to the brain easier)
• Mood boosting (same explanation)

Lastly, keep in mind that there is a lot of technique involved in inversions. If you’re unfamiliar with them, find a good teacher who can assist you and keep you SAFE. One of the best lessons yoga can teach you (if you let it), is being honest, compassionate, and loving with yourself and your body. Even if you’re an ol' pro at inversions, they are not to be forced, so don’t be stubborn about it and risk an injury. You only get one body-- take care of it!

Love & Light.

*Exceptions for Inversions: Untreated high blood pressure (ask your doctor if you have high blood pressure), any condition that the pressure from the inversion would affect (such as glaucoma), and neck or shoulder injuries.

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