Inversions are asanas in yoga that take you upside down. They bring the hips higher than the heart and the heart higher than the head; they are an integral part of a yoga practice.
Aside from the more physical muscular benefits, inversions are believed to improve brain function, release neurotransmitters, balance hormones, and release endorphins. Inverted positions that are assumed in yoga alter the blood flow and flow of cerebral spinal fluid.
By simply turning the body upside down we allow blood to flow into the neck and head at a faster rate, which nourishes the thyroid on a cellular level. Metabolism is the rate at which you burn calories; therefore by stimulating the thyroid gland you increase metabolism and the rate that you burn calories, which results in weight loss.
There is an inversion for every level in yoga.
Here are the 5 Inversion yoga poses for beginners to practice:
1) Viparita Karani – The Inverted Posture – Legs up the Wall Pose;
2) Shashankasana (Hare Pose);
3) Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose);
4) Dolphin Pose;
5) Sirshasana (Head Stand Pose).
You can hold the headstand for one minute to 5 minutes, depending on your stamina. After that rest in Child's pose, don't pop up to standing or sitting upright (you suddenly can feel dizzy or disoriented).
Getting upside down increases blood flow to the head, eyes and scalp, which improves circulation. In addition, it actually gives your heart a little reprieve from working so hard to pump blood upward. The reverse pull of gravity also fires up the digestive track and loosens any stagnant blood or toxins. Hanging upside down allows gravity to relieve pressure on the lower part of your body. This exercise may also trigger a series of “cracking” sounds across your body, which also alleviates built-up pressure.
Inversions can be safely practiced by all and can bring health and healing to the body. Like many other postures in yoga, inversions can help you break out of your comfort zone and shake things up a bit. Regular users eventually fall into a habit of inverting between one and three times a week. This frequency maintains the decompressed discs without too much strain on the surrounding muscles. Inverting for less time means that your discs will compress between each session. Do inversions exercises before you eat, and on an empty stomach. Attention: If you have inner ear problems, glaucoma, or a retinal detachment, an inversion can make it worse, expecially the most challenging ones. You should also avoid doing challenging inversions if you have a heart condition, fracture, osteoporosis, or hernia. Headstand is not suitable for people who suffer from neck ailments or scoliosis. Some masters say that since a woman's energy is low during menstruation, high-energy poses such as inversions should be avoided during this period. Children under the age of seven years should refrain from practicing headstand.
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