Turn Your World Upside Down

Inversions are poses in which your feet are above your head.  I have a gymnastics background so they come rather easy to me but for most people they take some time to develop.  Just being upside down is scary for many, let alone trying to balance with your feet way up high!  Be patient with yourself.

Fear often gets in the way of people going for inversion poses.  To eliminate this fear, use a wall for balance—gently allowing your heals to rest on the wall while you hold the pose.  You can also put a blanket behind you for extra-cushioning should you fall-over.  If you do find yourself falling, tuck your chin to chest and curl into a ball—you’ll do a lovely forward roll and you’ll look like you meant to do it!

The key is to engage your core and keep breathing.  The tendency in balancing and inversion poses is to hold the breath.  Don’t.  Just keep inhaling and exhaling fully.  It will help you stay balanced and you’ll find that you can hold the pose longer.

Benefits of Inversions:

Inversion poses have a positive impact on mental and physical well-being.  Here are some of the benefits of turning your body upside down:

  •  reverse the pull of gravity—allowing venous blood to flow back to your heart and lungs for improved circulation
  •  improve the flow of lymphatic fluid which helps to rid muscles of lactic acid and other wastes and therefore alleviates soreness and pain.
  •  improve blood flow to the brain—giving you a natural boost and improved concentration
  •  relieve varicose veins and spider veins
  •  reduce your heart rate and blood pressure
  •  boost your immune system
  •  delay some of the common effects of aging—mental alertness, enhanced vision and hearing, spinal alignment, height maintenance
  •  create traction in your spine, removing pressure from the disks between your vertebrae.

Poses:

 Legs up wall:  This is one of the easiest and probably the most relaxing inversion.  Click here to check out my post of calming the nervous system for pictures and a description.

Feathered Peacock:  I call it an arm-stand

  • Start on all fours
  • Place your forearms on the floor, shoulders over your elbows, about shoulder width
  • Look at your finger-tips and place your feet on the floor
  • Using your core, gently kick or lift (strong core need to pull your legs up) your legs above your head
  • Hold for 1-5 breaths

Prep looks like this.

look at your hands, breathe, engage your core

Tripod:

  • Start on all fours
  • Place your hands about shoulder width apart on the floor, spread your fingers wide
  • Place your head between your hands on the floor, your elbows should be bent
  • Using your core, place one knee on your upper arm, just above your elbow and then bring the second leg up.
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths

Feels so good.

Headstand

  • Begin in a tripod
  • Using your core, slowly begin to stretch your feet up towards the sky until you are in a straight line from your head to your toes
  • Hold for 1-5 breaths

press your legs up slowly.

Shoulder Stand:

  • Start lying flat on the floor
  • Use your abdominals to pull your legs over your heard
  • Support your lower back with your hands, elbows on the ground.
  • Slowly straighten your legs until your body is perpendicular to the floor
  • Be sure to hold your head straight and still during this pose, look up at your toes
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths

Hand Stand

I sometimes take my gymnastics background for granted.  Handstands take time and patience.  Don’t be disappointed if you find it difficult at first.  Practice with a friend or against a wall.

  •  Place one foot in front of the other
  • Pull your stomach in and engage your core
  • Bend your front leg and lean forward, reaching your hands out in front of you
  • When you hands touch the ground, kick your back leg up and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze that core.
  • Think about using your core to bring your legs up rather than leg momentum.
  • Have fun!

Its less about kicking hard and more about using your core to get up there.

handstand champ 1995--haha

NOTE:  Inversions should not be practiced if you have high blood pressure.  Nor should you do them  if you’re Aunt Flow is in town (girls, that’s code for menstruating).

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3 thoughts on “Turn Your World Upside Down

  1. Julie

    You are starting to remind me of Clara Roberts; the combination of the love of two disciplines and seeing their relationship to one another. Nice.

  2. Bethany

    The first day I got into a headstand (18 months after starting yoga) was the scariest/awesomest day of my life. Someday I’ll be able to do it without a wall 🙂

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