Looking to breathe new life into a dry and over-familiar yoga routine? Want to get a leg up on the new ways yoga is blossoming and transforming how yogis play with their practice?
Consider this: An affordable suspension system elevates a normal asana practice and opens the door to the health benefits of assisted inversions.
In the comfort and support of a suspension set-up, yogis at any level can find a powerful new dimension of movement and rest. Thanks to famed yoga teachers BKS lyengar and Shiva Rea and their influence on suspension yoga, modern yoga has a new tradition in the making.
In his book The Gravity Guiding System, pioneer inversion therapist Dr. Robert Martin said, "We know that the brain is the center of nerve control and that all movements originate in the brain. When this brain mass lacks a sufficient supply of blood, the natural results will be slow body reactions and sluggish mental and physical reflexes - a possible reason for lack of mental alertness and response... When these symptoms appear, it is evident that postures which alter gravity's effect are vitally needed."
In Yoga for Depression, Dr. Karen Koffler, director of integrative medicine at Evanston Northwestern Hospital said, "Inverted positions that are assumed in yoga alter the blood flow (including lymphatic drainage) and flow of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). If there is increased blood flow to the area, there will be increased bio-availability of oxygen and glucose, the two most important metabolic substrates for the brain. It follows then that cells bathed in a solution that is rich in factors required for the creation of neurotransmitters (like norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin) will be better able to produce these chemicals."
The movements and holds that are made possible by a suspension set-up provide a playful, acrobatic feel that can help move you beyond the glass ceiling that a practice routine can sometimes engender. The infinite combinations of floor to airborne flows brins the wonder of simply moving back into focus. Just imagine fully entering and enjoying your inversions and arm balancing postures, not to mention the amazing enhancement given to back-bends, twists, hip-openers and hundreds of other poses and movements. Perfect for athletes, beginners and anyone in between who feels the urge to balance in the joyful energy of flying, improved harness designs have made adjustments and modifications during flow much less time-consuming.
Using the body's weight for resistance while training has long been recognized as the gold standard in many elite fitness circles. A workout or flow with a yoga suspension system lets you strategically play with leverage and momentum to stretch and strengthen with close to maximum efficiency and minimum impact. Used more and more by therapists and trainers, these systems can be an extremely effective tool in rehabilitation. The comfortable support found throughout the hundreds of movements, confers beautiful and rapid improvements in coordination, balance, strength, mobility and energy.
Check out these companies who specialize in suspension systems:
AntiGravity® Yoga Hammock
Ethan Engel is the associate editor of Marmapoints.