The Women's Journal

Fight The Winter Blues

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heather_shafer_on11_sqBy: Heather Shafer, CYT

When I was a kid, if I was ever feeling grumpy, my dad would lift me up, flip me upside down, and say “here’s a new perspective on life.” Without fail, by the time he placed me back on my feet, I always had a smile on my face.

I still get this feeling of euphoria when I become grounded after an inversion. Except now my inversions come in the form of yoga postures. Perhaps it was the “new perspective” I was shown as a child that drew me to Aerial Yoga. As a young adult I thought it was all about the perspective, but as I came to study Aerial Yoga, I realized that the benefits of being turned upside down extend far beyond just having a new perspective.


Inversions are a time-honored yoga practice that increases blood flow to the brain and pituitary gland, said to relieve stress and elevate the mood…something everyone can use as we make our way out of this season of cooler temperatures and shorter days. The lack of natural daylight can easily lead to Winter Fatigue.

This feeling of lack luster can easily be avoided with a new form of yoga that makes these advanced inversions much more accessible, safer, and many times more FUN – VaihAyasa {vi-hAyas} Aerial Yoga.


VaihAyasa is Sanskrit for “being or moving in the air, suspended in the air, sky-dwellers.” An appropriate name for the newest style of Aerial Yoga that combines the fun of other playful acrobatic aerial, with the more grounding and alignment-centered details of more yogic aerial. It is a smooth merger of both extremes of the aerial yoga world that allows practitioners to sink into their practice more quickly, to deepen stretches, to find proper alignment naturally, and to reap the benefits of inversions without strain on the joints of the body. Aerial Yoga allows practitioners to invert without strain to the neck or joints, allowing for surrender into a posture and full benefits. You will find that your mind clears, shifting to become open, aware, present.


Beyond the esoteric, inversions are credited with alleviating Seasonal Affective Disorder for many significant reasons:

kaya_aerial_yoga_1Fight the effects of Gravity: Gravity continually pulls down on our vital organs. Inverting gives your vital organs a break by reversing the effects of gravity, and removing stagnation from the limbs of the body. Reversing the pull of gravity on the body nourishes the organs and glands above the heart and generally gives your vital organs a break. Moreover, when inverted, your body is in line with gravity, allowing your spine to go into its proper alignment. Regular inversions encourage good posture. Our posture has been shown to dictate our moods. Proper alignment of the spine can lead to feeling healthier, young, alert, and positive. (Our Posture Dictates Perception, Y. Haruki & M. Suzuki, 1994)

Stimulate Blood flow & oxygenation to the mind: Allowing the head to be lower than the heart bathes the brain in richly oxygenated blood, which affects all of the systems of the body. This boost to the circulatory system is said to help regulate the endocrine system, which controls the production of all of our hormones.

“The Dr. Oz Show,” featured inversions as an “important health secret” that increases blood flow to the head increases the production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine deficiency is associated with Parkinson’s disease, depression, attention deficient disorder and substance abuse. Serotonin helps regulate communication between cells and controls appetite, sleep, memory, learning, mood and behavior. A lack of serotonin is associated with depression, anxiety and insomnia. (The Dr. Oz Show: Two Alternative Health Secrets Feb. 2010). The improved circulation of blood flow and oxygenation to the brain can increase concentration and mental clarity. Heightened awareness and stimulated thought are often experienced, leading to a feeling of being recharged with energy and relaxation.

Promotes Lymphatic Drainage & Blood Purification:
The lymphatic system clears toxins from the tissues. With inversions, lymph circulation is promoted, increasing the rate of blood purification and detoxification, which helps revitalize. The tried and true propping up of feet to reduce swelling is an example of this. When the lymphatic system is functioning properly, immunity is boosted and the functioning of the body can function more efficiently and effectively, which should make you feel more rejuvenated.

PureYouInversions are a great way to counteract the seasonal sluggishness that is so common this time of year. So, take a lesson from childhood and turn that frown upside down.

VaihAyasa Aerial Yoga classes are regularly offered at Kaya Wellness & Yoga, Rehoboth Beach, DE, and at Kaya Aerial Yoga, in Olde City Philadelphia.

Aerial Yoga Teacher Training

Learn to teach one of the fastest growing yoga styles.
Aerial Yoga Teacher Training registration is now open for February 19-26, 2012
@ Kaya Wellness & Yoga.

Kaya Wellness & Yoga | 301 Rehoboth Avenue | Rehoboth Beach, DE

& Kaya Aerial Yoga | 225 Quarry St. | Philadelphia, PA

302-227-3450 | [email protected]

Enter Kaya to open your practice & still your mind….

Allow your true colors to blossom.