The literature on hatha yoga waxes eloquent on the wonders of the head-stand. Kuvalayananda maintains that the posture benefits the special senses, the endocrine glands, and the digestive system, to name only a few, and Sivananda, in his usual style, calls the headstand "a panacea, a cure-all for all diseases." Anyone who has had a lot of experience with the headstand will agree that it's a marvelous posture, but it is not clear why this is. For a possible answer, the most obvious place to look is the inverted circulatory system. First, it is plain that when we are inverted, the venous return from the lower extremities is determined by the amount of blood pumped through the capillary beds, because once it gets into the venules it is quickly recirculated by the force of gravity. If you can remain in an inverted posture for just 3-5 minutes, blood will not only drain quickly to the heart from the lower extremities and the abdominal and pelvic organs, but tissue fluids will flow more efficiently ■nto the veins and lymph channels, and this will make for a healthier ! exchange of nutrients and wastes between cells and capillaries.
It is also obvious that inversion increases blood pressure in the head ant neck, the regions of the body that are filled with the body's regulator; mechanisms: the brain's hypothalamus, which regulates the autonomit nervous system and pituitary gland; the pituitary gland, which regulate many other endocrine glands; and the brain itself, which carries out al aspects of mental functioning. This region also contains the special sense that are so important in our interactions with the world: sight, hearing taste, smed, and the sense of equilibrium.
Considered in isolation, the significance of this increased blood pressur in the head is uncertain. If peripheral arteriolar resistance were to rema constant when you come into a headstand, increased pressure would pu more blood per minute into the capillary beds, increasing local blood fie but without data to prove the point we cannot assume that will happt because the increase in blood pressure might well be accompanied y enough increased peripheral resistance to keep blood How the same. We o know that mental exercises and aerobic activities such as running incre, -e blood flow to the brain, and if future research shows that the headsta d produces the same result, it might help explain the intense but subject e leelings of well-being that accompany this peisture.
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Discover How to Practice Yoga! Now you can use a practical stepbystep guide to learn Yoga techniques. Including the Practices and Exercises of Concentration, both Objective and Subjective, and Active and Passive Mentation, an Elucidation of Maya, Guru Worship, and the Worship of the Terrible, also the Mystery of Will-Force.