By Silvia Mordini
Handstands are part of the Inversion family of poses. Inversions revitalize, detoxify, and nourish one’s entire system. Some of their benefits include reversing the effects of gravity on the body, improving circulation, and tonifying the digestive and eliminative systems. I highly encourage attending a Handstand workshop in your area to demystify what actions are necessary to enjoy a safe inverted practice.
What will you learn? Through a thorough exploration of preparatory poses that strengthen the abdomen, increase flexibility of the spine and create stability in the arms and shoulder girdles, you will open specific areas of the body needed to safely practice inversions like handstands. A handstand workshop will provide you with many practical tools for starting to leave fear behind and let in the joy and fun that can come from turning the world on its head!
Why learn safe Inversions?
BECAUSE INVERSIONS TURN OFF THE “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” RESPONSE
“Inversions also directly trigger certain relaxation responses in our bodies. Whether the inversion is subtle or extreme, the pull of blood towards our hearts and heads toggles our nervous systems to turn off the sympathetic “flight or fight” stress response while turning on the parasympathetic “rest & digest” response. This happens in a complicated feedback loop that starts when blood pressure accumulates in the aortic arch above the heart and the carotid arteries in the neck. The final result is that they quiet the “chatterbox” centers within the brain itself so that we can have some peace and quiet.” – Jill Miller
7 KEY HEALTH BENEFITS OF PRACTICING INVERSIONS
1. Inversion Helps Improve Circulation
The cardiovascular system is your body’s transportation system, carrying food and oxygen to your body’s cells. It also retrieves blood from your legs and lower torso, carrying it upwards against the force of gravity. Inversion allows your body to work with gravity to ease the circulation process.
2. Calms the mind and relieves stress
A full body stretch upside down can be rejuvenating and help the body to effectively relax. A study conducted by physiotherapist LJ Nose found that EMG activity (a measure of muscle tension) declined over 35% within ten seconds of inverting. Showing how helpful inversions can be in relieving the tension and pain in your muscles that is often caused by stress.
3. Strengthens Ligaments
Ligaments are flexible but not very elastic. They can tear when stretched too much. The gentle reverse loading and movement that occurs while you invert strengthens ligaments and connective tissue.
4. Can Reduce Shrinking
I am petite at five foot and two and half inches. I have noticed a difference from practicing inversions. Why? Most people will lose from 1/2 inch – 2 inches in height during their lifetime because of thinning discs. As a baby, your discs are 90% water. The water content in the discs decreases to 70% by age 70. An active inversion program can help maintain more of your original height.
5. Removes waste from the body
Ever wonder if there’s a solution to not getting sore after a workout? There is. The lymphatic system has no pump, putting the body upside down helps speed up the process of removing waste from the body. As a result you won’t get sore or will reduce the length of time you’re muscles are sore.
6. Improve Balance and Body Awareness
Inversion helps to develop balance awareness, which occurs when the upper regions of the inner ear are stimulated.
7. Enhances ability to concentrate and remain focused
Inversions help increase oxygen flow to the brain, which consumes 25 percent of the body’s oxygen intake.
Practicing gives you all these benefits and more! You don’t have to do them in the middle of the room or for a very long time, these health improvements will be felt if you have a consistent practice week to week. Try it!
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!