This term we have been working with various postures that are classed as "inversions". Most people agree an inversion is when your heart is above your head. So even the well-practised pose "Downward-Facing Dog" can be classified as an inversion. So why should we do them ... and when should we refrain from turning ourselves upside down?
An inversion increases the blood flow to your brain and can improve your concentration and memory. Being upside down assists the lymphatic system and can thus improve your immunity.
It's great for your cardiovascular system, too; by encouraging venous return it gives the heart a rest, and can momentarily reduce your blood pressure. I have read it's great for varicose veins and piles as well :).
Certain inversions can induce feelings of calm and balance, and some just bring out the child-like nature in us.
See the world with a different perspective: the world, and life, really can look very different when you're upside down.
Inversions shouldn't be practised if you have glaucoma, and there is conflicting evidence on whether or not to do them during your period.
If you have high blood pressure, it's not recommended, but if your blood pressure is controlled with medication and is stable you should be fine.
I have read a lot about some of the detrimental effects of headstands and shoulder stands, and how this can compress the vertebrae in the neck. But my interpretation is that damage only occurs when you are spending more than ten minutes every day doing these postures.
Also, epilepsy is contra-indicated; but, again, if you are well controlled you should be fine.
Inversions can be fun, exhilarating and calming. What's not to like? Let me know what you think, and of course if you have any questions I'm always around before and after classes.
PS I can't claim any artistic credit for this month's photo as it was taken by my friend; but I think it's a rather beautiful view of an industrial landscape. Any guesses where it might be?