The Benefits of Inversions in Your Yoga Practice

October 19 | The Practice |

by Yoga Six

Yoga Inversion Headstand with Lotus Legs Most people spend their entire lives walking and sitting upright, their heart always below their head and pumping hard to send oxygenated blood throughout the body. While this is certainly how our bodies were designed to function, inversions are used to ease the burden on our hearts as well as offering a number of other benefits you might not expect.

Gravity takes its toll on our bodies and, over the years, we begin to see the effects taking hold. We see fluid retention in our tissue, poor circulation, spinal pain and more. Inversions quite literally turn the force of gravity upside down, allowing your tissues to drain, congestion to clear and your heart to pump more easily and efficiently as blood makes its way through your vital organs. When done properly and consistently, inversions can have a positive effect on your lymphatic system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and more.

Here are just some of the benefits you can expect to experience from practicing inversions:

  • Lower blood pressure. Because inversions increase the fluids moving toward the heart, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to circulate oxygenated blood properly throughout the body. With the pressure of blood within your body reversed, you’ll experience lower blood pressure, a slower heart rate and a pleasant a sense of calm and well-being, all without having to overexert yourself. This can be especially helpful for those with a history of high blood pressure.
  • Relief from back pain. Spinal pain is often exacerbated by the pressure of gravity, which is why so many people who suffer from back pain have to spend a significant amount of time laying down. Inversions relieve the pressure on the spine by reversing gravity’s force, allowing it to gently pull the spine in the other direction. This can improve your posture and alleviate back pain, giving you an alternative to laying flat on your back to relieve the discomfort.
  • Improved lymphatic drainage. When the lymphatic system isn’t working as well as it should, we experience inefficient circulation, fluid retention and a buildup of waste materials. It’s no surprise that gravity can cause fluids to pool in our lower extremities, but it might surprise you to learn how sluggish and uncomfortable that can feel. Inversions help your lymphatic system work properly, helping fluids drain correctly and ensuring your body filters to properly to remove waste. Your stimulated lymphatic system can improve your immune response, minimize fluid retention, alleviate congestion and help with problems caused by inefficient lymphatic function like varicose veins and edema.

Be aware that inversions require patience and careful attention to your abilities and to how your body feels. Make sure your instructors are aware of any injuries or conditions you may have so they can tell you which poses are right for you. Previous neck injuries or especially high blood pressure may mean you cannot practice certain inversions. Never force an inversion, or any other pose, if it doesn’t feel right. Ask your instructor to help you make sure you move into each inverted posture with care to avoid injury.

Try an Inversion Workshop

If you want more detailed instructions on how to properly execute inversions, try taking a workshop on inversions. Yoga Six Carlsbad is offering a two-hour workshop to help you explore proper alignment and receive personal instruction for a safe progression into inversion poses. Flip Your Perspective: Inversions Workshop takes place on October 21st at our Carlsbad studio. We invite you to join us and learn about all the benefits you can experience through inversions.