Take care of your health because with each passing decade it’s a little harder to stay fit. What you do today will be realized tomorrow. That’s Karma and like gravity it is a bitch to fight!
From the moment we stand upright gravity is pulling us down. When we’re young and growing the force of life defies gravity, but as we age gravity defies us. That is why I love inverted yoga poses. They change the force of gravity by changing the flow of blood away from pooling at the lower body and back towards the upper body.
The effects of gravity don’t really matter until that first day you look down and your ankles are beginning to swell. You look up and you see the skin beneath your jaw line beginning to sag. It’s an OMG moment!
Inversions like all things in life should be done with a bit of caution. There are certain contraindications that should be observed so as not to make things worse, such as high blood pressure, some heart conditions, neck injuries, recent strokes, detached retina, glaucoma and epilepsy. Talk with your doctor before starting yoga if you have any of these or other concerns.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to do inversions:
Improve your facial skin and hair. There are reasons why our skin gets dry and our hair gets limp as we age. One of the reasons is gravity. Bodily fluids such as nutrient rich blood and oxygen get distributed throughout the body via the heart. But upright the heart has to work over time to pump up to the head. An inversion makes the work easier and allows nutrient rich blood and oxygen to bathe the upper body. Remember with Karma; life becomes what life does. We can direct our energy to create anything we desire. So upside down in a forward bend we go and our skin and hair will thank us.
Inversions improve immunity by assisting the lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is a key player in keeping you healthy. It moves through your body picking up toxins and bacteria and eliminating them. Because lymph moves as a result of movement and gravity, getting upside down allows lymph to move more easily to the respiratory system (your lungs) where many toxins enter the body.
Inversions shunt more blood to the brain which both invigorates us physically and brings mental vitalization. Got the four o’clock slump? Get upside down and breathe!
Inversions calm the nervous system thereby bringing calmness and balance to our mental processing.
Inversions improve body balance. They work the core muscles, as well as, our equilibrium to improve our sense of balance.
Literally inversions give us a new perspective on life. We all react to our world in predictable ways. We spend most of our life being upright or laying down. Inversions teach us that there are other ways to deal with life’s situations. Sometimes, as Jimmy Buffett put it,” a change in latitude, a change in attitude, nothing remains quite the same.”
Inversions make us feel playful and playfulness makes us feel young. When was the last time you hung upside down from a monkey bar? They remind us that although yoga is a contemplative practice it can also be fun.
Some great inversions to try are down dog, standing forward bend and legs against the wall. If you really want to challenge yourself try shoulder stand and head stands. Make sure you do these with the help of a teacher.
Whatever you do try tipping gravity upside down on its head and take a look at life from a different perspective. It will keep you open and flexible and that is one of the secrets to staying young! So take an upside down proactive approach to aging!
Try Doctor Lynn’s Anti-Aging Yoga Dance