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Yoga tips

In essence, an inversion is a Yoga pose that turns you upside-down to some degree.  Common examples are headstand and shoulderstand, both of which I'll talk about more in a moment.  However there are plenty of simpler gentler, and safer ways to invert, and they give many of the same benefits.

Benefits and Cautions

Our bodies are mostly water, which is constantly affected by the pull of gravity.  When we invert, gravity is now pulling the other way.  The stale blood in the legs returns more easily to the heart whilst the brain gets an enhanced supply of oxygen.  The lymph system removes waste products more efficiently.  You might find relief from blocked up lungs, and indeed all the organs can be affected.

However this reversal is not guaranteed to be beneficial for everyone - consult your doctor if any of these apply to you or if you are in...

Most Western Yoga classes are primarily a physical practice.

The original Sanskrit word asana means manner of sitting, but is now used to cover any Yoga position.  The common English translations are pose or posture.  To my mind, neither translation is ideal because the words share a second possible meaning: behave in a way that is intended to impress or mislead - which could hardly be further from the right approach.

In essence, I would say a pose is a way of working the body physically that is beneficial to health.  Many of the common poses have been practised for hundreds or even thousands of years.  Wise sages dedicated their lives to studying their minds and bodies.  The exercises that are handed down to us are those that stood the test of time.

A pose is a challenge to the body.  Some muscles have to lengthen, some activate...