When I began my serious practice of yoga I was in a lot of pain. My right shoulder stuck in place, any movement or pressure was incredibly painful, my neck was tight and sore, and let’s add in some chronic right hip pain. And that was just my physical self – I was at an emotionally and spiritually stuck place, not having much fun.
Yoga was my last ditch effort
I was not eager to learn yoga after all my years of study and practice of Chinese medicine. But I was in pain, and desperate for help (a little of my story is here).
Life Upside Down
It was the perfect metaphor – it was time for me to go upside down.
To see my life from a whole new angle. Little did I know that upside down has so many mind-body benefits. In the yogic tradition, inversions are a primary tool for maintaining the vitality of the all the organs, the nervous system, and flushing out the fluids around every cell.
Yoga inversions reverse the gravitational pressure on the entire skeleton and most importantly the vertebral column that makes up the back. Inversions provide a whole new perspective, they are a quick way to shake out the ruts of a habitual mindset.
My structure was not going to benefit from traditional shoulder stands or headstands. To get the benefits of inversion I was introduced to two tools:
- Yoga Inversion Swing
The headstander has been great for my neck while offering all of the physiological benefits of yoga inversions.
Inversions using the yoga swing also benefit the neck, and provide better low back results than the headstander (in my experience).
Inversion Head Rush
As soon as you go upside down there is a great deal of pressure on the head.
Everyone experiences this differently.
My first attempts at inversion were very short, as in 2-3 seconds, because the pressure in my head was painful and scary. I took it very slowly. I inverted for just a few seconds at a time, gradually building my confidence. As promised by my teacher, my body figured it out and now I can linger in an inversion for a minute or two very comfortably,
How to invert safely
If you want to give these inversion tools a try, ask around for a local yoga teacher who is experienced with them. Inversions offer many benefits. I recommend getting the support and instruction you need in order to do them safely and most effectively.