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Get Inverted: What I Learned by Turning My Yoga Practice Upside-Down

Posted By Megan Hannan On June 22, 2014 @ 3:46 pm In Fitness, Yoga | 2 Comments

yoga inversions [1]

When I first saw the notice for the inversions [2] workshop, I was excited. But after I signed up and paid, I was nervous. When the day arrived and I was warming up on my mat [3], I was terrified! What if I was the worst one there? What if I fell on my face? What if I fell on my neighbor? So many fears.

I may very well have been the worst one there, but I did not fall on my face, nor did I fall on my neighbor. What I did do was find the strength to push myself further than I’d gone before.

Inversions are a powerful part of a yoga routine [3]. However, for someone new to the practice, they can also seem the most elusive. Most of them require a strong core, strong arms and a lot of control. Whether you realize it or not though, inversions are part of your practice from day one. The most commonly used inversion: Downward Dog [4]. What you are probably thinking of when you hear the term, though, is Handstand [5].

As a new yogi [6](only a year and a half into my practice, I really am still cutting my teeth), inversions have always held a special allure. From the moment I first used a wall to get upside-down, I was hooked.

Inversions [7] get your blood flowing, giving you a boost of energy; they can relieve headaches, and help build shoulder muscles (a hard one for women). The benefits to turning your practice upside-down are numerous, but for me the biggest benefit was a new understanding and connection to my body. Going upside-down can be scary, it can feel unnatural at first, but when it works, it gives you a whole new awareness of what each part of your body is doing and how they work together.

That workshop [8], while rich in tips and guidance on proper positioning, was probably most useful for helping me realize that my biggest stumbling block is fear. I have work to do on my strength, of course, but what is really holding me back is this frame of mind that I am not balanced enough, experienced enough, or good enough to do this. This workshop reminded me that I can step outside of my comfort zone, and that if I keep trying, every time I will get closer, and one day that will be me “flying.”

After two and a half hours of trying different inversions with two dozen other yogis, I still hadn’t made it into handstand without assistance, but I felt strong and capable anyway. I learned I could do tripod stand, one I hadn’t even thought to try before, and that I could kick up into forearm stand easier than handstand (still need the wall but I’m getting up there!). With practice and time, I know I’ll get to handstand eventually. But by incorporating upside-down moments into my regular practice, I’m already reaping huge benefits.

A friend recently told me that since I started practicing yoga [9], he’s really watched me come into my own. By turning my practice upside-down, I can finally see that too.

Related Articles:

How to Do Ab Crunches on a Balance Ball for 40% Better Results [10]

Arm Exercises Without Weights [11]

Tips on Mastering Handstand [5]

10 Benefits of Yoga Inversions [7]

Yoga Solutions:

Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Beginner’s [6]

Inversion Table [2]

Yoga Inversion Tee [12]

Gaiam Sol Dry Grip Yoga Mat [13]

Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com

URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/get-inverted-what-i-learned-by-turning-my-yoga-practice-upside-down/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/yoga-inversions.jpg

[2] inversions: http://www.gaiam.com/inversion-table/95-1485.html?extcmp=life_prod

[3] mat: http://www.gaiam.com/yoga-mats/?extcmp=life_prod

[4] ownward Dog: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/491

[5] Handstand: http://blog.gaiam.com/tips-on-mastering-handstand-a-class-with-kathryn-budig/

[6] new yogi : http://www.gaiam.com/rodney-yee-yoga-for-beginners/05-53391.html?extcmp=life_prod

[7] Inversions: http://yoganonymous.com/10-benefits-of-yoga-inversions/

[8] That workshop: http://www.myyogaonline.com/poses/inversions

[9] practicing yoga: http://www.gaiam.com/yoga/?extcmp=life_prod

[10] How to Do Ab Crunches on a Balance Ball for 40% Better Results : http://life.gaiam.com/article/how-do-ab-crunches-ball-40-better-results?extcmp=life_prod

[11] Arm Exercises Without Weights: http://life.gaiam.com/article/arm-exercises-without-weights

[12] Yoga Inversion Tee: http://www.gaiam.com/yoga-inversion-tee/04-1356.html?extcmp=life_prod

[13] Gaiam Sol Dry Grip Yoga Mat : http://www.gaiam.com/gaiam-sol-dry-grip-yoga-mat-%285mm%29/05-61028.html?extcmp=life_prod

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