When you’re dealing with a stressful situation, sometimes the best course of action is to try to change your perspective. For example, while you can’t control the actions of other people, you can control your own . One way to enforce that self-focused perspective change—literally—is to practice inversion yoga.
“It’s so nice when you’re experiencing anxiety and stress to flip yourself upside down, but also to fold forward” says Krissy Jones, the co-founder of Sky Ting Yoga, in a calming yoga for stress relief flow that’s part of this month’s Well+Good Trainer of the Month Club series. As Sky Ting co-founder Chloe Kernaghan demonstrates a forward fold in the video, Jones calls attention to what the pose is actually doing for Kernaghan on a spacial and energetic level: “You’ll notice Chloe is more internal. She’s looking at herself. She can’t see what’s going on around her. Her head’s reaching towards the floor, and she’s moving in towards a hibernation position, like a shelled position.”
Grounding in your own body and breath isn’t the only reason inversion yoga offers stress relief, among other benefits. Here’s why you should consider flipping upside down in your next practice.
What is a yoga inversion?
Thought of yoga inversions might conjure handstands or headstands. But actually, anytime your head faces the floor counts as an inversion, too.
“Inversions don’t always necessarily mean going upside down,” yoga instructor Traci Copeland explains in a “yoga inversions for beginners” video practice. “You can also do a classical inversion like downward dog or forward fold, or straddle forward fold, or even something as simple as legs up the wall.”
The hallmark of the inversion is that your blood is flowing downward to your brain instead of up. “Your spine is rounded, your hips are lifted, and you can lean a little bit side to side or roll around on the crown of the head—just stimulating the top of the head onto th