It’s called doing inversions and as you can see from the pic, it is not for the faint of heart, body or mind!
Do you ever think about gravity?
Probably not too much.
Gravity has an enormous effect on the physiological processes and inner workings of our bodies. So much so, that when you enter zero gravity (as discovered by NASA during the space programs), nasty biomedical problems can occur: your sense of balance is destroyed; blood floods upwards; the heart quickens; muscles atrophy; and you experience anemia, dehydration and bone mass decline to mention a few.
However, the ancient yogis called gravity the silent enemy. It eventually weighs us down. The heart gets tired of pumping blood up and down to all of our nether regions and begins to falter causing varicose veins, hemorrhoids and sagging skin.
We are sensitive to it because we consist of mostly water and fluids coursing through our bodies every second of every day.
What do inversions do?
By defying gravity for a brief time, inversions positively impact the endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic and the nervous systems. The blood going to your head when you invert revitalizes your brain, improving mental stability and concentration. A fresh surge of blood hits the lymphatic and endocrine glands helping balance the body’s hormones.
By shifting your relationship with gravity because you’re upside down, your perspective changes, further expanding your sense of being in the world.
And you would have to run very, very fast for a long time to get the blood pumping strongly enough to circulate down to the feet and up the back. Inversions do this in an easier, healthier way.
Inverting also has an interesting effect on the lungs. Since gravity pulls your fluids downward, the lower lungs which are more compressed than the upper lungs, get more thoroughly saturated with blood. Unless you are always taking good, deep breaths, the ratio of air to blood in the lungs is unbalanced. When you invert the blood gets into the upper lungs (which naturally get more air anyway) causing an efficient oxygen to blood ratio and healthier tissue throughout the lungs.
Inverting also gives the heart a bit of a break by speeding blood to the brain and neck area.
Only try this with a trained yoga instructor. But the results can be simply exhilarating!
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(Pic from Yoga Journal)