A few months ago I had my first experience of Hangab Inversion therapy and felt a level of relaxation that went way beyond what I was accustomed to. It’s been quite the pleasant surprise to find the same Hangab team on the Barcelona Yoga Conference schedule this year. Hangab is a unique method of inverted relaxation, conducted in a slow and measured manner. Let’s hear more about Hangab from Hubert Mühlbacher, who will be offering this unique experience at the BYC this year, along with his Hangab family Hartmut and Petra.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you began with Hangab?
I have always loved Savasana. The term “letting go” helped me a lot in various situations in life…I even came to the conclusion that in the moment we really let go, everything falls into its natural place! The cells in our body, the flow in life, the experiences we make and the happiness we perceive. When we managed to let go, everything is well 🙂
Letting go is not easy but I believe when we open ourselves to it, in daily life and/or in sessions, we get better at it.
So ten years ago in Vienna, I heard there is a guy hanging people upside down and it’s about letting go! I was so fascinated by the idea that without even having experienced a Hangab session, I straight away jumped into the first training for practitioners.
I entered a deep Savasana experience. The first time, I felt my spine going up to the top of my head and felt that strong column inside. I was also impressed by the different stories of the other participants during the training.
Hartmut (founder of Hangab) and his wife Petra became my family over the years, we started to travel together and spread this medicine.
What are the general benefits of Hangab inversions?
The big key is the slowness of going up and the way we can stay inverted. At first, we only pull the legs up, give a little introduction and then go up very slow and in stages.
In each stage, the body has time to adapt to the inversion, preventing uncomfortable pressure in the head. This way people can hang way longer than what they think, resulting in still point experience, where the mind shuts down and old emotions can come out. We guide the people with inverted bodywork and hold space when entering a process.
The physical benefits are similar to all inversion positions but maybe a bit deeper. Compared to the traditional inversion in which we rush into, here we take time, there is no pressure in the head, there is no active muscle holding the pose and that gives us the benefits to work with time and release.
So the spine and all joints get space, a kind of backflow of all liquids, turning the circulation upside down, the organs receive gravity in another way, not laying, not sitting, not standing and that is a real benefit.
I would also say it is a holistic way to free things. Some people experience physical releases, some more emotional or mental, some are just flying, some have visions and some feel reconnected to their soul or their true essence.
For someone who’s never done any Yoga and has no workout history, is Hangab advisable?
The oldest woman hanging was 89, the oldest man was 87…I always say, everybody who can stand upright can also hang even though we had a woman sitting in a wheelchair experiencing immense freedom as well.
There are two kinds of Sessions.
In Hangab-Ground, one gets lifted up until shoulder-stand (head and shoulders still on the ground). Pretty much everybody can receive that type of session and the benefits of the relaxed inversion are already taking effect.
In Hangab-Flying one gets all the way into full hanging.
Both are good and similarly powerful.
In the Yoga scene, most people can go into Hangab-Flying straight away because the bodies and minds are already trained and opened but even there sometimes we suggest they receive Hangab-Ground first, gain trust and go up all the way the second time.
The only contra-indications are high intra-ocular pressure (but also there Hangab-Ground is no problem) and on the day of intensive menstruation, women should really feel inside if they want to do it.
Can you tell us a bit about the science of how Hangab works on the human body and nervous system?
As I mentioned above, the simple but powerful key is that the body adjusts to the inversion when going up step-by-step and slow. Our system seems to swoop and can work the other way around as well. In some old cultures, people were actually hanging way longer than how we do it today.
But as for the scientific side in us, we did a test with a doctor, osteopath and kinesiologist with interesting results on the physical level. As summary, I would say it is balancing and self-regulating. So high blood pressure came down and low blood pressure went up. The left and right sides of the brain got balanced, the self-healing power increased from 40-60% before to 90-100% after, people were in average 3 cm taller pointing towards a regeneration of the discs and much more…if interested please visit: http://www.hangab.de/en/hangab-test-reports.html
Can you share a bit about the emotional aspect of Hangab? Some people seem to have a lot of emotional release during a Hangab session. Can you explain the how and why of that?
In the test, the Osteopath said that every tested person naturally entered the ‘Still Point’. That is a point of zero where our system shuts down, like at a computer…and restarts again after. When we are moved into the inversion position, our mind cannot follow (f.e. the sense of balance) and naturally gives up the control. I guess this deep relaxation can bring old emotions tensions, traumas to the surface, so that they are expressed and can go.
I can also see the release of an emotion as the relaxation of a tension. Physical tensions or blockages (especially in the organs) can very often be linked to an emotion of the recent or former past.
Another aspect is that you are suspended on the feet and cannot ‘flee’ straight away. I mean, you can always say stop and we bring you down and it’s all done with love and big respect, but the fact that you are fixed opens the solution to surrender to it, to relax where you hold on and just let it be. Surrendering is actually relaxing and can open interesting doors.
I remember feeling extremely relaxed with a Hangab session with Petra in Bali a few months ago, especially the lower jaw felt a huge release. It had me wondering if being suspended upside down is more restorative than lying down horizontally. Can you shed some light on that?
What shows in a hangab session normally are the points of resistance, where we learned to hold on. Everybody has different points. The jaw, forehead, neck, shoulders, back and buttocks are more common areas and sometimes really difficult to spot in laying savasana. In hanging upside-down, the body is falling into an unusual direction, making it easier to let everything just hang down. Being moved by us in ‘flying savasana’, lets you spot them and relax where you would maybe not be able to relax yourself.
What is more or less restorative is really hard to say, both are similar, great, and still different. For now, we are happy to discover what the change of perspective in being upside-down can do for us.
Thank you Hubert for the wonderful conversation and sharing your knowledge with us!
For more on Hangab, follow on Instagram @hangab_inversion and don’t forget to try the Hangab experience for yourself at the BYC!