Ayurveda and yoga therapy. Pleasure benefit.
When we talk about inverted yoga poses, we imagine Standing on the head. Usually beginners don’t find it pleasant. Also the experienced practitioners always have something to strive for.
Yet, from Ayurveda’s point of view this practice is able to develop lightness in body and mind and harmonize the energy balance. About practical execution and preparation for the pose I will write a special article. Now I want to concentrate on Ayurvedic aspects of inversion poses practice.
Ayurveda states that two energetic flows circulate in human body. They are the Prana (“the ascending flow of Energy”) and the Apana (“the down flow of Energy”). The regulation and direction of these two flows to the central energy channel (Sushumna) is practised by pranayama. Pranayama is the section of yoga on respiratory practices. The established circulation of two energy flows and their periodic conscious direction along the central canal. This way the human health is maintained and self-regulated at all levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
It is easier for us to feel the respiratory energy called Prana which is an ascending stream. All our breathing is actually Prana.
Apana is more difficult to detect and feel. The downstream carries “winds” containing products of decomposition of the “ascending respiratory stream”, as well as gases exhausted by the body. Remember the Pavana Muktasana — “a pose that ejects the winds”?
With well-functioning digestive and excretory systems (we mentioned it in the “Digestion” section), the “winds” leave the body according to schedule and release the space necessary for maintaining the normal functioning of internal organs in the body.
The space, or the “Air” in Ayurveda or more subtle version the “Ether” are those weightless structures, work of which is difficult to track. We need to develop sensitivity to ourselves during practice process.
Yet, it is this structure shows itself actively during inversion poses practise. When the body weight is moved to the head and hands, the pressure balance is shifted towards the diaphragm. It allows the internal organs to make a short journey inside the abdominal cavity. The stagnant Apana, which is most of the time under the pressure of internal organs, rushes into the vacant space. It sweeps the body to adjust the natural rhythm of the processes it regulates.
At the same time, the Prana, the ascending stream of Energy rushes down and feeds the organs with its energy.
In other words the Apana rises upwards, and the Prana rushes down. Both Energy flows change places for a while. They update and supplement each other. This is the essence of the Ayurvedic process of body regulation in inversion poses.
There is no “bad” or “good” energy, there is a balance.