Today I want to talk a little about inversions. Whaddasatmean? Basically, going upside down. They're not only fun (and a little scary) to play around with, but they're also pretty great for our overall wellbeing.
The supported headstand (Sanskrit: Salamba Sirasana), was the first feet-above-the-head pose that I attempted, besides playing around with handstands when I was a kid, of course.
Like many yoga poses, there's that lightbulb moment - when the pose finally works and all the pieces fit. But this lightbulb moment can take years, perhaps due to a small alignment tip a teacher cues you with, or perhaps the surrounding core muscles needed beefing to achieve the pose in the first place. It all comes down to practice, practice, practice. Oh, and patience. Allow yourself the time and head space you need in order to enjoy the journey. Practice makes progress. I say progress, not perfection - as with everything in life, perfection simply does not exists...only the illusion of it.
SIDE NOTE: Being inverted (or upside down) doesn't only mean standing on your head or hands. There are many inverted yoga poses that hold the same benefits as a headstand, forearm stand or handstand, like:
Forward Fold Pose – Uttanasana.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose – Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Crow Pose – Kakasana.
Feathered Peacock Pose – Pincha Mayurasana.
Bridge Pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.
Shoulder Stand Pose – Sarvangasana.
Plow Pose – Halasana.
Wheel Pose – Chakrasana.
TOP TIP: The best way to tell if a pose is an inversion or not is to notice whether the heart is above the head, if it is, it's an inverted posture.
1. Improved circulation:
Being inverted changes the balance of blood flow, providing the brain with more oxygen and blood than it would normally get, which in-turn improves concentration, helping us to focus and concentrate in-ward, which leads me onto my next point...
2. Increased immunity:
Traditional yogis believe that when we go upside-down the lymphatic system has a better chance of draining toxins and bacteria from the respiratory system, which is where we collect a lot of unseen pollution/ bacteria from our environments.
3. Full body toners:
Depending on the pose being practiced, being upside down can increase core strength, arm strength, shoulder strength, and even leg strength!
So, gym bunnies,
get your inversions on!
4. Improved balance:
I know this is an obvious one! But really, with time and practice inversions become easier and easier, don't be fooled though one day you may be amazing at balance and the next not so much... which leads me onto the next benefit...
5. Keeps us humble:
Say whaaaat?! Yup it's true!
No pose has taught me more than an inverted pose, especially the more challenging asanas like handstands, headstands, forearm stands, and certain arm balances like flying crow.
This is because they teach us to overcome fear, push our boundries, challenge our limits and accept when it's not going to plan. These poses leave us no choice but to accept where we are today. We can only improve with time and practice and at our own individual pace. We cannot force our bodies to have the strength, patience, or balance that's required to achieve them. Even when we do achieve these tough poses, we still fall out of them every now and then, so they also force us to laugh, have fun and accept defeat.
You can do it
STANDING ON YOUR HEAD!
Take a look at my free "Headstand for beginners" playlist on YouTube. These videos will teach you how to safely enter a supported headstand, with some cues for what poses to practice in order to gain the confidence and strength needed to fully enter a pose which requires you having your feet above your head.
If you don't already own a FeetUp support yoga prop then I highly recommend you invest in one, especially you beginners out there. It's one of the safest ways to practice a headstand from home, and one of the best ways to gently build that strength and confidence needed to eventually take it to the mat. Use discount code - yogacandi -