Newton as I’m sure you all know discovered and wrote the Universal Law of Gravity which explains why we don’t fall off the earth and the planets stay in orbit, but what he didn’t explain was that by defying gravity we will become fitter and find a whole new feeling of wellbeing. Well, according to some Yoga experts that is! I can understand the wellbeing side of this new born theory as Yoga has been used for centuries as a means of spiritual meditation, a way of finding and connecting to our inner being, and to a certain degree I can also grasp that the various Yoga positions can help with making your joints stronger as well as more supple. However an article I read in the ‘Sunday Times’ pushes Newtons laws of gravity to a whole new space and time warp.
The article was about ‘Zero-Gravity Yoga,’ in which participants are suspended upside down whilst they perform certain Yogic moves. It seems that by upending yourself in a sling of some kind to make the blood rush to your head, a method once favoured by the Spanish Inquisition to extract confessions, is actually good for us. This method the article states also stretches our spine and tones up our muscles and is favoured by the likes of Britney Spears, Pink and Maria Carey … this week at least (sorry girls!).
To be fair the article does go on to support my nagging doubts about the long term success of this zero-gravitational form of exercising by including the comments of Claire Small who is a physiotherapist at Pure Sports Medicine in london. Claire says, “Practices like anti-gravity yoga and inversion tables will challenge the body in unusual ways and may stretch the spine to make you feel better temporarily. However, the long term effects are likely to be minimal. There is little evidence that they make a significant change.” I tend to agree with her, yes there are benefits to be gained by using weightlessness or near weightlessness to improve our health, swimming for example is a great exercise as are many other forms used by athletes in training and rehabilitation, but bear in mind that they are already fitter than the majority of us and as far as I know don’t hang around like bats in doing so.
Having the blood surge to our brains certainly is a stimulant as Claire points out, but like most stimulants such as smoking, drinking or any other form of drug taking they have short term benefits far outweighed by their long term consequences. So I’ll stick to her view rather than that of someone who no matter how well trained they may be in the art of Yoga simply wants the money to fall out of my pockets by hanging me upside down. I wonder what Sir Isaac would think of these gravity defying antics, or in deed that other great man, Charles Darwin? Are we in regression by re-evolving into apes and simulating swinging from the trees, I doubt it! I think I’ll let gravity do what it’s supposed to do, keep my feet on the ground, and continue to go on nice country walks for my exercise.