Gravity does a heck of a job keeping us grounded but it can do a number on our bodies. Defy gravity and reverse the effects of standing, walking and sitting (basically being upright) all day long by spending more time upside down. That doesn’t mean you have to drop down into a headstand, simply propping your legs up against a wall for 10 minutes a day can give your a body healthy, energetic, and cleansing, boost.
Being in an upside down position benefits the cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine systems. It can ease stress and back pain, improve athletic performance and even refresh the mind. It’s also a great way to get refreshed during a mid-day slump.
Talk to your doctor before going upside down, as there are safety concerns to keep in mind. Don't go into an upside down position if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma, or you are pregnant.
EASY UPSIDE-DOWN POSITIONS
Downward facing dog: This popular yoga pose lengthens the spine while strengthening the chest muscles improving lung capacity. For step-by-step instructions of this move, click here.
Legs up on the wall: This is a favorite among runners as it drains the legs of fluid that builds up during a run. It’s a great restorative yoga pose so feel free to use a pillow or bolster under your lower back and rest your hips. Lay down on your side with your butt up against the wall and arms to your side. Roll over onto your back and lift your legs straight up in the air and rest them against the wall. Now relax.
Bridge: The bridge chest-and-shoulder-opening move is fairly easy and improves circulation and digestion, while relieving back pain. To get the most out of this bridge post, check out our fitness index for full instructions.
INTERMEDIATE UPSIDE-DOWN POSITIONS
Shoulder stand: Another move that is beginner-friendly, the shoulder stand works the entire body while stimulating the thyroid gland, improving digestion, reliving stress and depression.
Bent-knee headstand: A bent-knee headstand is a great way to build up your balance – and courage – toward a headstand.
ADVANCED UPSIDE-DOWN POSITION
Headstand: Reap the benefits of being upside down while doing a headstand. As Nerd Fitness explains, you don't need big muscles to do a headstand; it is a skill that you need to practice every day. Known as the "king of all asanas," the headstand is obviously an advanced move that requires plenty of upper body and core strength to master.
Looking for even more ways to spend your time upside down? Try inversion tables or aerial yoga. Whatever you do, remember that the wall is your best friend and practice makes perfect!
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