I have been practising yoga for about 4 years now but I have never attempted inversions prior to joining YTT. Maybe it was because it always looks so difficult and I was of the view that you had to be a super advanced practitioner to even attempt that. I’m really glad that the requirements of this course exposed me to attempt inversions, which was something I never thought I would have been able to do at this point.
After starting my inversion practice during the course of YTT, I am starting to understand and experience the benefits of inversions. I have been incorporating Sirsasana (headstand) into my practice, and would love to share some benefits of this pose:
- Stress relief: Headstands stimulate the pituitary gland, which is responsible for releasing endorphins. Endorphins primarily help one deal with stress and reduce feelings of pain.
- Skin glow: Headstands reverse the flow of gravity and stimulates blood flow to the face. This results in increased circulation to the facial cells which helps to sustain youth and may create a glowing effect on the facial skin.
- Improving digestion: Headstands reverse the pull of gravity and this helps to stimulate the intestines, release trapped gases and improve blood flow to the digestive organs.
- Strengthening of core: Headstands require engagement of the abdominal muscles (obliques, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis). With more practice, the core strengthens and this will improve the alignment of hips over chin and the ability to extend the hip flexors for legs to be vertical.
- Toning of upper body: Headstands are primarily supported by the muscles of the shoulders and upper back. It requires us to contract the trapezius and deltoid muscles to protect our head and neck.
Of course, headstands require moderate shoulder strength and can be dangerous if the practitioner is not ready to support his/her own weight upside down. It is always advisable to attempt your first headstand in the presence of a qualified yoga practitioner.