Turn your tension upside-down (literally)
One afternoon I was hanging out with my friend Jenny in my office (which also acts as a yoga Zen den). Out of nowhere, Jenny got into a headstand.
As an avid yogi, Jenny is known for her love of the practice — but I was a bit confused by her strong desire to be in a headstand. While upside down, Jenny explained that doing headstands helped her turn her mood around. Whenever she felt stagnant or blocked, doing some kind of inversion greatly supported her transition into a higher state of consciousness.
So rather than watch her while she revitalized her energy, I decided to join in. I went into a headstand against the wall for support. Within a minute I felt an energy rush. All my stagnant energy seemed to be literally turned upside down, and I started to feel more alive.
As time went on, I made inversions a daily routine. In addition to the supported headstand, I turned to the plow pose. Both of these inversions are pretty easy to move into whenever you need a boost. I find plow pose a lot easier for people who are new to yoga; you can do this pose on your bedroom floor, outside on the grass, or anywhere there is a soft surface.
Practice an inversion for one minute or more and you will feel the benefits. This simple practice can turn your bad mood, stress or foggy mind upside down and recharge your energy. Inversions increase blood flow and improve concentration, memory and awareness.
Inversions also improve digestion and elimination: Many yogis suggest inversions to overcome constipation. Another health benefit of inversions is that they promote lymphatic drainage and blood purification. The lymphatic system clears toxins from the issues and supports your overall immunity. The reason you feel so rejuvenated after an inversion is because the pose is detoxifying.
Most importantly, inversions will lift your spirit and relieve depression. When you increase your circulation and send oxygen to the brain, you release neurotransmitters and endorphins while balancing your hormones.
Turn your blocks upside down with an inversion for one minute (or more) a day.
If you have back, neck or any structural problems, please skip this exercise.
Move into a shoulder stand: Lie on your back, and press your legs straight up overhead. Exhale and bend from the hip joints to slowly lower your toes to the floor behind your head. Keep your torso perpendicular to the floor and your legs fully extended. Lightly drop your toes to the floor and lift your thighs and tailbone toward the ceiling. Draw your chin away from the sternum and soften your throat.
To enhance the posture, you can press your hands against the back torso and press your back up toward the ceiling. You can use your hands for support or you can release them away from your back and stretch the arms out behind you on the floor.
To exit the pose, drop your hands onto your back again and raise your legs into a shoulder stand and exhale your way down to the ground.