By Jessica Ashen
When in yoga class, and the teacher suggests to invert or practice an arm balance, that moment has the power to elicit a wide variety of emotions ranging from excitement to fear and anxiety. We practice asana (yoga postures), to break down patterns both mentally and physically while developing strength and flexibility. One of the many goals of a yoga practice is to be “neutral” when it comes to reactions to things (or your preferences.) For example, when the teacher announces it’s time for headstand practice, wouldn’t it be nice to have neither a positive or negative reaction to it? Instead, just practice what you’ve learned without any attachments to the outcome.
Practicing inversions has many benefits, some of which include:
1. Reversing the blood flow in the body and improving circulation
2. Increasing immunity and preventing illness
3. Improving balance and confidence
4. Strengthening and toning the body
5. And to have fun, of course!
You might actually already be practicing inverting and not even know it! For example, Downward Facing Dog is an inversion, because your heart is higher than your head. Being able to practice inverting isn’t about having yogi super powers. It’s about learning how to align the body properly and in an energetically efficient way, while using gravity as a tool for balance.
Why try to balance on your hands, you ask? Because it’s fun, and because you can do it! Most people think you need to have a ton of strength or flexibility to balance on your hands. But that’s absolutely not the case. Most of the time, what prevents us from being able to do things, especially scary things, is our mind. If you can let the mind be still (another amazing benefit from practicing yoga) and allow fear to fade away, balancing on your hands is easier than you think.
In addition to connecting to your inner child, balancing on your hands will help you develop strength, confidence, flexibility, cultivate awareness and utilization of breath, and give you a really cool party trick.
Now that you feel ready to take that leap of faith and dive into something new and exciting, attend my workshop on arm balancing and inversions and test what you’re truly capable of. It’s for all levels, but geared more towards beginners, and will give you all the basic tools to begin to develop a practice of flying and inverting.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
1. Bakasana (crow pose)
2. Vashistasana (side plank)
3. Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand)
4. Salamba Sirsasana (supported headstand)
5. Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand)
Hope to see you all there!