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Everybody Upside-Down

Let gravity work for you. Inversions are good for your lungs, heart, thyroid, and more.

By Yoko Yoshikawa

 

Here on earth, gravity slowly but surely weighs us down and saps our strength. We stand, sit, or walk with head above the heart, legs and pelvis underneath. As the years rack up, so do the damages. Subcutaneous fat sags. Varicose veins and hemorrhoids erupt. Weary of incessantly pumping blood through its vast circulatory network, the heart falters. According to Payne, the ancient yogis called gravity “the silent enemy.” The yogi performs a martial-arts sleight-of-hand: Upend oneself and enlist gravity’s power to arrest the ravages of that self-same force.

The human body is sensitive to the fluctuations of gravity because it consists of more than 60 percent water. From the skin in, the body is dense with cells, floating in a bath of intercellular fluid. A complex network of vessels weaves in and around every cell, steadily moving fluids through valves, pumps, and porous membranes, dedicated to transporting, nourishing, washing, and cleansing.

According to David Coulter, Ph.D., who taught anatomy at the University of Minnesota for 18 years, when one inverts, tissue fluids of the lower extremities drain—far more effectively than when one is asleep. Areas of congestion clear. In a 1992 Yoga International article on Headstand and the circulatory system, Coulter wrote: “If you can remain in an inverted posture for just 3 to 5 minutes, the blood will not only drain quickly to the heart, but tissue fluids will flow more efficiently into the veins and lymph channels of the lower extremities and of the abdominal and pelvic organs, facilitating a healthier exchange of nutrients and wastes between cells and capillaries.”

All Systems Check

There are four major systems in the body that the practice of inversions is said to positively influence: cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine.

Read more at http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/214?print=1

TYoko Yoshikawa teaches Iyengar-based yoga in Oakland, California.

Great in-depth article – inversions are AWESOME! and especially important when run-down or congested – they stimulate your lungs, organs and immune system… and make you feel recharged and centered

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