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Turn it Upside Down - Inversions for Everybody - My Yoga Essentials

Turn it Upside Down - Inversions for Everybody

The term “inversion” can evoke mental images of headstands and handstands. While balancing on your head or your hands can be fun and fulfilling, these are not the only inversions available in the practice of yoga. 

Here’s what every beginner yogi should know about inversions, their benefits, and examples of several that work – for everybody.

What Are Inversions – and Why Practice Them?

By definition, an inversion is any pose in which your head is below your heart and your hips. This is a broad category of poses that includes everything from downward facing dog to a standing forward fold (more on that later). 

Turning upside down is beneficial in a number of ways. Inversions can:

  • Help release physical and mental tension
  • Increase circulation by stimulating blood flow from the pelvis toward the heart
  • Boost energy by increasing oxygen uptake at the cellular level and releasing endorphins (Energizing and mood-lifting)
  • Improve flexibility and strength, balance and spatial awareness
  • Build healthy bone density in arms and spine
  • Stimulate the Lymphatic System

There are more subtle benefits of inversions, too – like enhanced focus from practicing poses that require concentration to hold over time, and confidence building. 

How to Get Upside Down

Practicing an inversion doesn’t always require a great deal of experience with yoga – just an open mind and willingness to trust the process. Here are a few inversions that everyone – from beginner to advanced – can benefit from:

Downward Facing Dog Inversion Yoga Pose | My Yoga Essentials
  • Downward-Facing Dog.  A staple of modern yoga practice, downward dog involves placing your hands toward the front of your mat, your feet toward the back, and allowing your tailbone to lift toward the ceiling to create an inverted V-shape in your body. While this may feel physically uncomfortable at first, this pose helps the practitioner access many benefits of inversions over time.
  • Standing Forward Fold Inversion Yoga Pose | My Yoga Essentials
  • Standing Forward Bend. Typically practiced as part of a series of sun salutations, you’d begin in a standing position and hinge at your hips until your torso is draped over your thighs. Shift your weight forward, keep at least a small bend in both your knees, and allow your head and neck to relax completely as your blood circulates downward toward the heart and brain.
  • Legs up the wall inversion yoga pose | My Yoga Essentials
  • Legs Up the Wall. This pose is exactly what it sounds like. If you don’t have a wall available to rest your legs on, you can simply lay on your back and extend your legs up toward the ceiling, creating an L-shape with your body. To enhance the angle of inversion, it’s often helpful to rest your tailbone on a yoga block or other prop so that your hips are several inches higher than your head.

  • No matter where you are on your yoga journey, there is an inversion that is accessible to your body and your level of comfort on your mat. And while these inversions can be integral to all levels, you may find with practice you are able to access and desire to incorporate more advanced inversions along the way.  We have all the essentials you need for a safe, sustainable yoga practice available in our online store

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