It’s that time of year again: the holiday season is upon us. And as much as we all love the lights and 24/7 tunes, it’s no secret that the holidays create their share of stress, as well. Finding that perfect gift and spending eight hours straight with your in-laws may translate into a nagging cold, aching bodies and cluttered minds. But have no fear. There is a solution. Turn Your World Upside Down

To clarify, I am not suggesting that you make any drastic life changes. Drastic life changes and stress don’t mix, so return the sports car, cancel the move to Europe, don’t profess your love to the girl you met last night at the bar. When I say “turn your world upside down,” I mean practice yoga inversions.

Afraid of going upside down? Don’t worry. Inversions can simply be defined as any pose where you heart is higher than your head and they range in complexity from Balasana/Child’s Pose to Pincha Mayurasana/Feathered Peacock Pose. The good news is that ALL inversions share the same benefits.

They:

• Reduce stress Yes, the holidays are stressful, but an easy way to reduce stress all year long really is the gift that keeps on giving!

• Relieve pain in the spine and overworked muscles Tired of sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day? Inversions reverse the effect of gravity and relieve compression. Body a little beat from 100 burpees? Inversions give your body the R&R it needs to recover for 100 more.

• Improve circulation Think about those salmon swimming against the stream of water. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could help them get to their destination by changing the flow of the water? Think of inversions as doing just that: helping your blood to get where it needs to go.

• Strengthen bones, ligaments, the core and more Are you a lefty? Imagine if you decided to start throwing with your right hand? Your body may be pretty strong right side up, but upside down is a whole other ballgame. Inversions challenge the status quo and make you stronger in the process.

• Improve posture, balance and concentration Balancing on your head in Headstand isn’t easy and requires discipline and poise.

• Enhance immunity It turns out standing on your head can keep colds at bay, too!

• Combat insomnia Inversions have a calming effect, meaning you’ll catch your Zs easier and with fewer interruptions.

• Change your perspective – literally! You don’t have to change your beliefs to change the way you see the world.

I know what you’re thinking. Where do I sign up, right? But before you jump into a handstand before finishing this article, a quick word of caution. All inversions are not for everyone (for example, many inversions are contraindicated for people who are pregnant or menstruating, or have neck injuries, epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart conditions and eye problems. For that reason, I highly encourage you to only practice inversions under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher who can guide you through the process, including the preparatory poses that prepare your body to go upside down.

That said, I will leave you today with one of my favorite inversions that nearly everyone can do anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

Vipariti Kirani/Legs Up the Wall Pose

So what are you waiting for? Move that end table away from the wall, kick up your legs, and flip life on its head for a happy (and stress free) holiday season!

Namaste,

Emilie