Every month at H-Kore we focus on different aspects in our yoga practice. It allows us to create a connection to what you are doing in the beginning, allows you to build your energy and find your way to a more advanced practice. This November we will be taking things upside down and focusing on Inversions in our Yoga Flow classes. The practice will include 3 attributes: Physical, Mental & Emotional.
An inversion is most generally categorized as any asana in which the head is below the heart. And while Headstand, Handstand, Forearm Stand and Shoulder Stand immediately come to mind, there are gentler variations that may be more accessible for students early on in their inversion relationship: Downward Dog, Standing Forward Folds, Legs Up the Wall and Happy Baby are lovely ways in which to get things moving in new directions without diving headfirst into the deep end.
Purposely turning ourselves upside-down is contrary to our physical nature, and yet the benefits are many. Just as yoga gently encourages us to move away from any unconscious habitual patterns, the invitation to invert is simply another way to shake things up and step out of the comfort zone. Yogis who practice inversions regularly have experienced reduced stress and anxiety levels, better mood, increase in concentration and self-confidence.
Physical Attributes to foster while working with inversions
Inversions help promote core and upper body strength. To be able to maintain your body weight and balance we need to work with strong muscle engagement. We work with the principle of “hugging into the midline” by connecting and drawing in to the centre of the body. But there is a misconception that inversions are all about strength. The reality is that we need to foster flexibility and mobility in the shoulders and hips to help of the body get into the desired position. Strength and flexibility always go hand in hand when you practice inversions
Mental Attributes to foster while working with inversions
One of the biggest advantages of inversions is their ability to eliminate fear and build confidence. At first, most of us are scared of lifting both legs and balancing on head or hands. Fear of falling and fear of change often stands as the biggest barrier between you and an inversion. But through exploration and experimentation you become more adventurous and so keep trying, as you keep falling and picking yourself up to try again, you overcome your fears and begin to enjoy the process. You become more confident about your ability to move forward and balance, and you also learn to accept your failures and view them as a learning lesson.
Your perspective changes. You do not see falling as failing but an opportunity to improve and try again. You build self-confidence and at the same time learn to keep your ego in check. You learn to approach your practice with curiosity and humility, look inward and not compare your practice with someone else’s.
Emotional Attributes to foster while working with Inversions
Inversions reintroduce us to our inner child and remind us that though yoga is a contemplative practice, in many ways, the asana practice is also a time to be playful and lighthearted! This is the fun aspect of a yoga practice that boost in positive energy.
When we allow the head to go lower than the heart there is an increased flow of oxygenated blood to the brain that stimulates the nervous system and calms the mind. There are many different opinions out there as to how various practices can work as natural antidepressant, helping relieve thoughts of depression or anxiety, and believe it or not, a practice filled with inversions is one of them.
It is believed by many yogis and medical professionals that the increase of blood circulation throughout the body during an inversion also increases the circulation of endorphins, most often tied to depression and anxiety. When the circulation of endorphins is increased, the brain has an easier time managing mood and hormone levels—making the symptoms of anxiety or depression decrease.
By maintaining an inverted position for a few minutes a day, as part of a daily yoga practice you will staying positive and light hearted throughout the day.
Sounds interesting? Come practice with us in our Quarry Bay studio!
We can’t wait to strengthen, stretch and sweat with you! The first step is to create your account, once you’ve registered just purchase your trial pack, book your class and get ready to enjoy Hong Kong’s most talked about workout!