Going upside down. It can seem super scary, especially if you’re just starting to explore inversions. Lifting and holding your body weight over your head feels like a really unnatural thing to do… to begin with at least.
But even if you only manage to hold it for a second or two, the sense of achievement when you invert is just so wonderful; like a rush of satisfying goodness that keeps you coming back for more, learning and improving as you go. And as well as seeing the world from a whole new perspective, turning ourselves upside down can have some real benefits for our bodies and our minds.
Firstly, it takes a lot of strength to get the weight of your body over your shoulders and even more to hold yourself there. To invert safely and with as much strength as possible, you’ll want to work on going upside down with control, instead of just kicking your legs up and hoping for the best. Practicing inversions in this way will engage your whole body, really getting into the depths of the core, arms and legs. This also gets your balance working, which is great for improving your overall coordination.
There’s also evidence to suggest that inverting can improve your circulation, immune system and energy levels, as it gets more blood and oxygen moving around the body. Going upside down also brings more blood flow to the brain, which can help with concentration levels and memory.
As well as the physical side of things, inverting can be a really confidence-boosting practice to get into. Half the challenge is pushing through the fear of going upside down, building strength but also trust in your body and its abilities. So many of us are drawn to inversions because of how impossible they seem at the beginning, but even the people who now float up and down from their super stable handstands started somewhere. Like any practice, you will see improvements over time, and that’s what will spur you on.
There’s also bound to be plenty of tumbles and falls along the way, so inverting is also incredibly humbling. There will always be new transitions to work on and the next shape to nail, and it’s this endless journey of learning that makes inversions so fulfilling and fun.
And that’s the other, probably most important benefit, too… the fun of it! The real wonder of inversions comes when you realise they aren’t too much about making pretty shapes with your body or holding a position for as long as possible; the smile on your face when you land, a little breathless, from some upside down time reminds you what it feels like to play around with something challenging and new.
Happily falling in and out of a handstand may or may not have been you when you were younger, but inverting definitely reawakens some kind of inner child in us all. With a playful, lighthearted approach, there’s so much fun and freedom to be had with going upside down.
If you'd like to explore some upside down time, then check out the following coming up online at Trika on Tuesdays: Asana Workshop: Handstanding Part 1, 2 and 3.
And do keep an eye out on our ever-evolving schedule for new additions all to do with inversions! :D