There are a few reasons why the practice of going upside-down is included in nearly every style of yoga, and is now starting to pop up at the gym in various workout routines as well.
If you've ever gone upside-down and challenged your balance and strength with headstand, handstand or any other type of inversion, then you are probably familiar with the exhilarating feeling of blood rushing to your head. If you look back to your childhood, you probably remember a similar feeling while hanging upside-down on the monkey bars at your favorite playground. Either way, when you return to a right-side up position you likely feel born again — like everything in the world is just as it should be.
So there's no doubt that being upside-down makes you feel good, but how many of us know exactly why? And what on earth does this have to do with your love life?
Here are three reasons why inversions activate those sexy brain chemicals and leave you feeling exhilarated. And yes, they might be just as good as sex, if not even better!
1. Inversions improve your mood.
Being upside-down directs blood flow to your head and brain. Increased blood flow means increased oxygen delivery to your cells. This means increased bioavailability of oxygen and glucose — both of which are needed for optimal brain function, memory and clear thinking.
But a clear mind is not the only benefit of increased blood flow to your brain. It also triggers the production of endorphins, which regulate your mood and are seen as our body's own happy makers.
A happier you translates to more sex-appeal, and simply makes you want to strut your stuff.
2. Going upside-down increases dopamine and serotonin production.
Dopamine and serotonin are both neurotransmitters produced during sex and orgasm — a similar effect to the consumption of dark chocolate. It's no surprise that these chemicals are also produced during exercise, when blood flow is increased and blood-oxygen levels go up.
When you enter an inversion, the oxygen rich blood that flows directly to your brain is maximized, which in turn stimulates production of dopamine and serotonin, giving you a sense of excitement — even euphoria.
3. Inversions can leave you feeling super-confident.
Increased levels in confidence are an added bonus of inversions.
Poses such as headstand, handstand and even downward dog, increase your core strength and muscle tone in your upper body and arms. Your neck muscles, shoulders and trapezius muscles will get stronger and your spine will be properly aligned, resulting in better posture, which of course will lead to a boost in self-confidence.
Remember your parents always nagging, "Chest out, shoulders back"? There is something to be said for that, since this posture shows confidence and has a positive effect on testosterone production. Another sex and power hormone.
You can take this to the test right now: if you sit in front of your computer and catch yourself slouching with your shoulders rounded forward, sit up straight with an erect spine, and let your shoulder blades slide down your back and away from your ears. Sit with a proud chest and take a few deep breaths. Don't you feel more powerful already, more in charge?
If all this is not enough reason to try a headstand next time you're in yoga class, think of those rosy cheeks and the healthy glow that will stay with you, well after the pose is completed. Inversions help you go into the world with a little extra bounce in your step, leaving you feeling totally irresistible with a sense of renewed vigor.