Updated: Nov 5
I might be a yoga enthusiast, but you don’t have to officially practice yoga to reap the benefits of spending some time upside down.
I am not suggesting you hang in a Cirque du Soleil style aerial hammock or swing upside down on a tree branch. In real life it simply means to invert yourself by going upside down in one way or another so that your heart is above your head.
There are a variety of health benefits to inverting, but you can do your own personal investigation and discover that anytime you go upside down, you probably simply feel a bit better. You might feel an instant tension relief in your shoulders from the blood flowing to your shoulders, and also feel invigorated from the blood flowing to your brain.
I happen to love handstands. I do them everywhere in my home when I start to feel tense and/or a bit tired. I go up against various walls, and even have a preferred place against the refrigerator while cooking. Handstands also offer the benefit of strengthening the upper body.
The key is finding the right inversion for you, as handstands and headstands are not for the faint-hearted, and not even necessary in order to experience the full benefits of inverting.
Try this position that you can do anywhere at anytime:
Stand with your feet hips-width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back and start to bend forward with your head releasing down towards the ground. Straighten your legs for an added leg stretch, but you can also keep your knees slightly bent. Let your hands start to fall behind you towards the ground. They might be high up in the air at first, but you will find that the more you do this, the looser you will become over time. For an added shoulder stretch press your palms together.
Modified pose: Stay sitting in a chair while you clasp your hands behind you and come forward in between your knees.
Stay in this position for the count of ten, letting your body soften into the position and feel the flow of blood work its way through your upper body. Slowly come back up.
When you are done it is helpful to lean back slightly with your hands on your hips and your shoulders back for a small backbend, to both balance out the forward bend and also let the blood flow resume normally.
Most of us spend so much of our day sitting at a computer, and this pose is extremely effective for easing the tension that occurs.
Just today my family and I were walking around the city carrying various bags and my son complained about his back hurting. We all took a moment to go upside down, and even my kids were happily relieved.
Do you have a favorite inversion?