Forever 25

Posted on May 8, 2012


The blow of returning from my marvellous adventures in China and Hong Kong were cushioned by the prospect of getting back to my regular yoga sessions at Fitness First. And so it was, yesterday morning I ended a short-ish run (gently immersing myself back into the sudden sweat-fest desert temps) with Bram’s Flow Yoga.

We were doing a tripod pose when a girl in class asked what the key benefit of inversions  (i.e going upside down) is. Bram’s reply?  ‘Anti-ageing.’ Immediately, the all-female class were all ears, eager to absorb everything he said. ‘That’s why’, he went on to say, ‘yoga teachers often look about 25 when they’re actually like 55.’ Perhaps that too is why I still sometimes get away with saying I’m 25 when actually, I’ve turned 25 11 times now …

So over the remainder of the day, in between multiple inversions, I did some research … for myself and as a special request from my mum!

There is a theory in yoga that organs become displaced over time due to gravity. Inversions help return our organs to their original places where they function most effectively. Think about it … most of us spend at least 75% of our day sitting or standing, the other 25% (if we’re lucky) is spent sleeping. Our blood, lymph, organs and other tissues are, as a result, almost constantly being tugged toward our feet. This impacts their efficacy and efficiency in performing very important physiological tasks and affects our overall structure, most notably our spines.

Inversions reverse the pull of gravity and in doing so remove stagnation from out feet and legs and simultaneously bathe our brains in richly oxygenated blood. This circulation boost has a huge effect on all the systems of our body. The endocrine and exocrine systems become regulated, toxins are brought out of the system and we feel a sense of euphoria.

Inversions have even been linked with alleviating depression, PMS and Seasonal Affective Disorder … for the most part because they help us to maintain balance in our lives.

Add to this other benefits such as lifting moods, building confidence, boosting immunity and rejuvenating energy levels and a daily inversion becomes a pretty worthwhile investment. Just five minutes a day will help with asanas such as legs-up-the-wall pose, headstands, shoulder stands, tripod poses, standing forward folds and even downward dog.

As for runners … although the benefits of running are multiple, anti-ageing it is not!  All that pounding on our bodies does nothing to help us retain a youthful glow thanks to weighing down our cheeks, boobs, bum and more.  So perhaps the perfect balance is to start finishing off every training run with an age-defying headstand? 

On that note, it’s time I get back to my yoga mat for a spot of upside down action …

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