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Yoga inversions: Are they dangerous for students with blood clots?
The challenging and demanding postures in yoga include full or partial inversions. In these postures, body is placed in almost complete upside down position whereby head levels below the heart resulting in reverse circulation of blood.
Complete shoulder stand and head stand are the commonly practiced inverted asanas whereas partial inversions include standing forward bend, bridge and downward facing dog. The complete inverted poses are not recommended to every practitioner mostly as stated by Roger Cole in Yoga Journal. Roger stated that inverted postures offer numerous benefits but sometimes can cause physical reactions that temporarily reduce blood pressure level in body. Therefore it is better for high blood pressure sufferers to take some preventive measures while performing such type of postures.
Thrombophlebitis is defined as an inflammation of walls of vein that mostly results in formation of blood clots (thrombosis) in vein. This condition of vein may lead to pain, muscular swelling in forearms, legs, redness of skin and fatigue.
Blood clots, as mentioned earlier, are mostly caused due to inflammation in walls of vein, called as Thrombophlebitis. Health experts stated that there are various factors behind occurrence of this problem; these factors may include smoking, obesity, injury, sedentary livelihood, hormone replacement therapy or pregnancy.
In order to deal with this condition, yoga postures especially inversions are extremely beneficial and supportive. Yoga postures or inversions require legs or lower body to be place above the head. This cures the situation of Thrombophlebitis by improving circulation - pushing blood from legs back to heart. Regular practice of these exercises is helpful in boosting efficient circulation and regulation of blood in and out of legs.
Yoga techniques are proven as effective and powerful tool in treating and preventing patients to have blood clots in vein. It is also necessary to consult a medical practitioner for advice before starting yoga practice.
Deep breathing paranayama exercises also pull in chest cavity and draws blood from legs. It allows fresh blood to flow in legs aiding in relieving patient from the pain of Thrombophlebitis.
These clots cause hindrance in circulation of blood in legs and back towards heart. In this situation, practicing of yoga inverted asanas or leg raises help to improve blood circulation and prevent clot formation. Some of the beneficial poses for clot formation (varicose) in veins are shoulder stand (sarvang asana), head stand (sir asana), reclining head to toe pose (Sputa padangusthasana), legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani), cow face pose (Gomukhasana), seated forward bend (Paschimottonasana).
These inversion poses affect the circulation of blood as gravity causes pressure; it increases flow of blood inside veins, arteries and capillaries of head and neck. This increase in pressure depends mainly on two factors; firstly, how far above the head is from the heart and secondly how far the heart is from lungs and trunk. Therefore, practicing mild or partial inverted poses like downward facing dog or bridge pose increase little pressure of blood whereas headstand and shoulder stand increase flow of blood at higher rate.
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