Cast Away Emotional Baggage with the Practice of Hangab
Words: Stephanie Bovis
All my friends who practice yoga know that inversions are one of the best things in the world. Not only does it bring out the playful child within you, but physiologically inverting your body also has a myriad of health benefits. Being upside down increases your energetic circulation, allowing blood to nourish your face and the brain. It strengthens the core, and applies pressure to the glands that are crucial for our body to function at its optimum. Think about it, many of us spend so many hours of the day standing or sitting at a desk, where the likelihood for blood to settle in our joints and other areas of the body can increase. This creates stagnation that can be seen through the swelling of the ankles and the hips. By going upside down, you essentially give your whole body a lift by going against gravity, resulting in a sense of balance and equilibrium.
But, not everyone has the ability to invert themselves; and even if they can, most folks can't stay in an inverted position for very long. That is, until someone helps you through the process of course.
During the Bali Spirit Festival earlier this year, I tried a very unique method that involves being guided upside down, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. This method is called Hangab, and is a method that was created by Hartmut from Austria.
As I was meandering through the grounds of the festival, I couldn't help but notice two gentlemen with beachy blond hair in vibrant orange singlets as they manipulated bodies using ropes tied onto trees (what on earth was going on?). When I approached them to inquire about what they do, immediately, I felt very safe in their presence. I decided why not give it a go and allow them to show me their interesting technique, and what I endured was a journey that would involve really letting go not only in a physical sense, but in a deep emotional sense as well.
One starts this Hangab method by laying down in a very relaxed position. The feet are then bounded in a way similar to the binding of a bungy jump rope. As you are attached to a rope, your feet are slowly hoisted off the earth, followed by the hips, lower back, upper back, and neck, until you are left completely relaxed, hanging upside down.
Hartmut mentioned explained that being hoisted gradually in stages is extremely beneficial to the body physically, and can even induce spiritual effects as you go whirling through time and space. I'm not too sure if this is because so much blood flows to the brain, but at one point I definitely was feeling a little out of this world. This inversion never felt uncomfortable however, as the very gradual lift did not create too much pressure in the head and did not shock the body.
Let's explore the Science behind Hangab: From general medical practitioner Dr Inge Erbe to osteopaths and kinesiologist like Bettina Eisenmann and Gabriele Dangel, tested Hangab in relations to health and as therapy methods and found profound improvements on all levels (physical, ethereal and energetic). It is said to have:
- Body height up to 3cm which suggests a regeneration of the vertebrae
- Harmonisation of blood pressure
- No acceleration of the pulse (no strain on the heart-circulatory-system)
- A deep stillness and relaxation or 'charging of the body system'
- On kinesiology, there is improvement on immune system
- Joints and Vertebra pain disappeared
Hartmut complemented the practice with his experience in Native American rituals and practices; he used breathwork and what sounded like subdued mantras during the process. It was as if he could sense where my "stuck" or negative energy resided, and through this intuition he helped let go of any tension. It was quite surreal. At one point I found myself sobbing uncontrollably while I was upside down for no apparent reason. I then realised that these tears were probably a result of repressed emotions I didn't dare face with myself, or express to anyone for that matter. I felt a huge sense of relief after the one hour had passed.
This powerful experience made me realise we all hold layers of tension in ourselves on a physical and emotional capacity. On the physical front, once my Hangab treatment concluded, I felt the lengthening between each disk in my spine, and a great adjustment to my pelvis. I noticed a difference in my blood pressure and deep stillness in my body and mind. On the emotional front, I realised that sometimes tension cannot be blatantly detected. We are humans after all and at times either reactive to emotions, numb to emotions yet most times, these are feelings (good or bad) that we need to you know, feel. I felt that my emotional blocks repressed over time and recurring patterns were released, and I realised that sometimes it takes this kind of manipulation to the body to release what would most likely have been ignored.
Have you tried Hangab before or a therapy familiar to this? Share in the comments.