“In­ver­sions freak me out. Any tips for begin­ners?”

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You don’t have to go all cir­cus act in yoga to get the ben­e­fits of be­ing up­turned. “An in­ver­sion is any pos­ture in which your head is be­low your heart,” says Kelli Pre­court, yoga in­struc­tor and owner of Bal­ance Health Stu­dio in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. So yes, down­ward-fac­ing dog counts. “These pos­tures in­crease cir­cu­la­tion and oxy­gen to the brain, which boosts en­ergy, stim­u­lates the lym­phatic sys­tem, and builds strength.”

Ease into one by do­ing down dog with your heels against a wall and baby-step­ping your way to a sup­ported hand­stand. “Keep your hands on the floor 15cm in front of your shoul­ders, and walk your feet up the wall un­til they’re in line with your hips,” she says. Then walk your hands in un­til they’re un­der your shoul­ders. “From there, you can take one foot off the wall and ex­tend it up­wards.”

When you’re ready to try mov­ing both feet off the wall, ask your in­struc­tor for a spot. “Take child’s pose af­ter any in­ver­sion. It helps re­dis­tribute your blood” Kelli adds.

One safety note: If you have spinal is­sues, neck pain, high or low blood pres­sure, or are men­stru­at­ing, which causes blood pres­sure to dip, skip ’em. “In­ver­sions in­crease pres­sure in your head and can ag­gra­vate a pre­ex­ist­ing prob­lem in your spine,” says Kerry Martinez, a clin­i­cal ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist and yoga teacher in Bal­ti­more. - Ja­clyn Em­er­ick

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