Hanging Bottom over Top

Why go upside down?  Well, its fun. The first time I went into an unaided headstand was one of the most thrilling experiences of my asana practice.  The excitement of being upside down, balancing on my head, the slight danger of falling and the lightness in my legs was what appealed at first.  I felt like I was in a stunt show, doing something really cool.  Going deeper into my yoga practice, I was delighted to find out that my favourite asana is actually doing many other wonderful things for my mind and body; things I was quite unaware of.   Here’s just some of the benefits of hanging with your bottom over your top

1) Balancing on my head, balances my hormones.  Balancing my hormones balances my emotions. All of us, at some point or the other feel completely out of control.  Often, there’s no tangible reason for our mood swings, anger, depression, fatigue, and so on.  It’s hormones.  When our hormones are out of whack, our life feels like its spiraling out of control.  So what do inversions have to do with the endocrine system? In Sirsasana (the headstand), the increased flow of blood to the head stimulates the pituitary gland.  The pituitary gland is the master gland that controls the rest of the endocrine system and an imbalance in the secretion of hormones produced by the pituitary gland can lead to an imbalance in the entire endocrine system The Pineal gland produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects mood/sleep/wake patterns.  Sirsasana stimulates this gland, revitalizes the mind and central nervous system and is hence a natural cure for anxiety and other nervous disorders which can lead to other illnesses The Thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, regulates the rate of metabolic activity, growth and development as well as the onset of sexual maturity.  Sarvangasana, another type of inversion, pushes healthy oxygen-rich blood directly into the neck, strengthening the thyroid glands.

2) Sexy Legs Inversions also help prevent and reduce vericose veins by reducing the pressure on the legs and directing blood clogged in the veins upwards to the heart.    

3) Gives my heart a break: Blood flow back to the heart from the rest of the body is easier in the inverted position, as is the pumping of blood from the heart to the head and neck.  Also, in an inversion the ventricals go about the atruim and although the atrium now has to work harder the AV valves finally have a chance to rest

4) The Lymphatic System consists of glands and conduits that comprise our internal communciations network. Lymph is rich in white blood cells and plays an important role in our immune system and toxin removal. The better the system is working, the better we feel. Although it is vital that lymph fluid moves around within our body, there is no mechanism to achieve this motion. There is no peristalsis or lymphatic heart .  It is our activity and movement that determines the movement of lymphatic fluids.  And no other exercise moves lymph around in as many directions as yoga does, especially when we are inverted.