5 Benefits of Inversions

"The world is wrong side up. It needs to be turned upside down in order to be right side up."

-Billy Sunday

Inversions are scary. As human beings, it’s most natural to be standing on our own two feet, not upside down balancing on our hands, heads, forearms, fingertips, chins… (the list goes on). The word “inversion,” which refers to anytime the head is below the heart, provokes emotions that range from fear to excitement to doubt.

While inversions are one of the most challenging poses in yoga, they also have some of the greatest benefits. Here are five reasons why you should get over your inversion aversion and flip your comfort zone upside down.

1. Improves Circulation

When you go upside down, the direction of our blood flow is reversed, thus increasing circulation to all parts of the body—most importantly to the brain. As blood rushes to your head, it provides the brain with more oxygen, thus increasing cognitive function.

2. Helps Detoxify the Body

The lymphatic system is a chain of tissues and organs in the immune system that rid the body of waste and toxins. It’s in charge of waste removal, fluid balance, and immune system balance. Inversions stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage the flow of lymph into the lungs where toxins and mucus are found.

3. Stimulates Endocrine and Nervous Systems

Many inversions stimulate the pituitary gland, the body’s major endocrine gland, which controls growth and development. Inversions also stimulate the cerebrospinal fluid, known as “the juice” of the central nervous system.

4. Builds Core and Upper Body Strength

In order to stay balanced in an inversion, you must rely on upper body strength. To hold the poses, the core must be engaged while the arm muscles work their very hardest!

5. Boosts Energy

When the head is below the heart, blood rushes to the brain, stimulating and invigorating the entire body. This rush of blood gives the body an energy boost and also increases alertness and focus. 

Photo Credit: iStock