I think not! Gravity has a tremendous benefit to the body, and y4c yoga consciously uses gravity’s gifts to our students’ benefit in the following ways:
Resistance against the pull of gravity puts stress on our bones that is needed to keep the bones strong. Osteoblasts and osteoclasts are the specialized bone cells responsible for bone mass. Osteoblasts produce bone matrix, resulting in increased bone mass. Osteoclasts resorb bone matrix and result in decreased bone mass. Osteoblasts and osteoclasts maintain a dynamic balance in response to the mechanical needs of the bones. Just as movement increases muscle strength, resistance against gravity increases the activity of osteoblasts and strengthens bones. Yoga poses that involve weight bearing on the bones, such as standing and balancing poses, increase the active resistance of our bones against gravity, improving bone health.
Our heart pumps oxygenated blood through our arteries to every part of the body, and de-oxygenated blood back to the heart through our veins. When we are in an upright position, de-oxygenated blood must travel upward through our veins from our lower body to get back to our heart. Like water being pumped uphill through a hose, the venous return of our blood is slowed by the pull of gravity. Extended inactivity can cause blood to pool in the legs, potentially causing swelling, blood clots and varicose veins. Yoga inversions use gravity to help aid venous return to the heart from the lower body, and more efficient recirculation of oxygenated blood.
Our lymphatic system is much more dependent on gravity than our circulatory system. Inversions, or a simple positional shift such as lifting our arms, can be very effective for lymphatic drainage, reducing the risk or symptoms of lymphedema.