While it certainly has some benefits, it is unnatural for your body to be inverted. Inverted poses in Yoga require a lot of strength and flexibility because it can place a lot of strain on your spine, joints and muscles. This is why there are more serious safety risks associated with practising an inverted pose.
It is vital to give your doctor a call before attempting an inverted pose when you have:
- High blood pressure
- A heart condition
- Eye problems
- Head, neck, shoulder or wrist injuries
- Or if you are pregnant
Here are some of the risks and precautions you should be looking out for when practising an inverted pose:
Perhaps the most important risk that comes with yoga inversions is the risk posed to your spine.
In the spine, the vertebrae are larger at the bottom and progressively become smaller closer to the head.
When we stand, our spine works in unison with our pelvis and legs, placing a lot of the strain on the stronger parts of our bodies. However, when inverted, our spine is stacked from the smallest vertebrae to the largest. This puts a great amount of tension on the smaller, less strong parts of our bodies, like our arms and hands. Because the top parts of our bodies are not used to supporting so much weight, the chances of injury is significantly increased.
The most obvious risk, and one you can most certainly expect when practising any yoga pose, is falling. Falling when performing physical activities is inevitable. However, when you are inverted, the risk of falling in a way that causes stress or trauma to your body is far greater than any normal fall.
Falls like this can injure your spine or you can rattle your skull, which can leave you limp or braindead.
When you are inverted, your heart has to pump blood long distance against the force of gravity to your legs. It also has to pump against the weight of all the blood that is already in the arteries. In order to do this, your heart needs to pump harder, raising your blood pressure.
During inversion, your abdominal organs press down into your diaphragm. When you inhale, the diaphragm has to lift all that weight against the force of gravity, making it harder to breathe.
When you exhale, all the weight falls into your diaphragm, compressing your lungs and heart. This means that the heart has to pump even harder!
There are a lot of questions about if pregnant women should be allowed even to do yoga, never mind being inverted. And even though there are no answers to back any side of the argument, it is best to stay away from the more intense inversions.
In addition, it is best to stay away from poses that create a lot of heat, like handstands or headstands. Falling and injuries during pregnancy has the potential to harm your baby.
Some other precautions and contraindications for inversions are:
- To avoid long inversions and pay attention to blood pressure in eyes if you have weak blood vessels in the eyes, detached retina or glaucoma.
- To use a blanket under your shoulders and to avoid shoulder stands if you have cervical spondylosis or other cervical neck injuries.
It is important to take caution when performing any physical activities. When you have health problems, advise a doctor or yogi before you perform certain poses.
If you’re looking to gain the expert knowledge about Yoga, which only a Yoga instructor has, check out Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Yoga Certification Course.