Social media is flooded with people in handstands, headstands and arm balances. While they look really cool and photograph perfectly for Instagram, they aren’t a necessity to get the amazing benefits that yoga has to offer.
But, I get it...there’s just something enticing about getting upside down! So, here’s a couple of easy yoga inversions you can add into your at home yoga routine if you’re getting that inversion itch.
1. Legs Up The Wall
This is among the best yoga poses for runners. Simply lay down on your back with your bottom against the wall. Bring your legs straight up, resting against the wall and relax. All that inflammation trapped in your legs will work its way out. To get the most out of this pose, stay in this yoga position for five minutes.
2. Wide Leg Straddle Fold
This yoga pose not only stretches the inner thighs, but it also allows the heart to take a break. Sitting on your yoga mat, or in a comfortable seated position on the floor, bring your legs out as wide as you can without over exerting yourself. Place your hands on the floor in front of you and slowly hinge forward from the hips. You will really have to listen to your body in this yoga position. If you can only place your hands or elbows on the floor, then that’s totally fine! If you are flexible in this area, you might be able to fold enough to rest your head on a block, or even on the floor.
3. Downward Facing Dog
Does this one sound familiar? Downward facing dog works on the entire body by building strength in the shoulders and stretching the calves and hamstrings. It also helps decompress the lower back by evenly stretching the spine.
When it comes to the risk of yoga inversions, practicing these yoga positions shouldn’t be taken lightly. Remember to always warm up and to listen to your body. It’s expected for stretching to be a little uncomfortable, but not necessarily painful. If you ever feel pain, be sure to ease up on the pose.
Are you wanting to try those harder inversions? You know, like the ones that the yogis on Instagram do? Well to get there, you first need to work on mastering yoga poses that cover the basics, like the ones listed above. To avoid some of the most common yoga injuries, it’s important to tread slowly and practice the foundational yoga poses first. Once you feel comfortable in these yoga positions, you’ll be able to move onto the more advanced stuff!
So, what’s with all the hype around inversions? Aside from looking cool, there’s actually some pretty awesome inversion yoga benefits that can add wonders do your everyday life.
Improve circulation in the body
Most of us spend hours on end at a desk during the work day, which can cause some serious inflammation in our legs. One easy way to undo all that inflammation is to practice yoga inversions and get your feet above your heart. This small action gives your heart a break from pumping blood all over the body and lets gravity do the work.
I used to work at a high stress job that would send me home with a headache almost every day. Practicing legs up the wall not only forced myself into a state of rest, but it also relieved so much tension from my body. This simple yoga position calms the nervous system, slows the heart rate and produces feelings of balance and calmness.
Many of us (including myself) are terrified of balancing on our head and hands. Fear arises at the thought of trying something new; something that we imagine to be out of our skill level. Suddenly, we can’t get the imagine of falling or hurting ourselves out of our head.
Well, yoga is a practice, and so are inversions. There’s baby steps you can take to meet your goals and once we slowly make progress, the confidence starts to come ten fold.
During your next practice or maybe after a tough day, give some of these beginner yoga inversions a try and enjoy the amazing yoga inversion benefits!
About the Author
Laura Bender has been practicing yoga since 2014. Her own practice has helped her grow stronger and more flexible, while teaching her the lessons of mindfulness and gratitude. As a yoga instructor, her students inspire her to shine from the heart and be open to her most authentic self.