The headstand, Sirshasana (sirsha = head), often considered as the “king of asanas” because of its numerous health benefits, is an inverted posture. Its physiological effects can be felt in the entire organism, but more specifically at the level of the brain irrigation, blood circulation, digestion and endocrine system. This asana is to be approached with caution and should be learned with a competent teacher. The description given here is just for information.
- From the child pose, grab your elbows and interlock your fingers to form an equilateral triangle which will serve as a base to the posture.
- Bring the top of the head to the mat, making sure the back of the head is touching the inside of the hands.
- Straighten your legs and slowly walk towards the head, keeping the back straight.
- Bend your knees and bring the heels to the buttocks.
- Stretch up your legs.
- Breath with the abdomen in a relaxed and regular way, without straining.Try to find comfort in the posture using the breath.
- To leave the posture, bend the knees and come back into the child pose to relax the neck and shoulder and also to allow the blood to come back to the heart.
In the beginning, only stay a few moments. Progressively, increase the duration. One should leave the posture as soon as it becomes uncomfortable. This notion of comfort in the posture is absolutely essential in any asana, as noted by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras : “Sthira Sukham Asanam : an asana should be steady and comfortable”. Even though this sutra refers to the meditation posture, the same rule applies to all Hatha Yoga postures.
- Powerful cerebral stimulant through the important supply of oxygen brought to the brain.
- Stimulates and balances the activity of the endocrine glands, especially the pituitary and pineal glands.
- Stimulates the arterial and venous circulation.
- Increases the rate of hemoglobin in the blood.
- Relaxes the heart and the other internal organs as they are less submitted to the intra abdominal pressure.
- Provides a gentle massage to the internal organs.
- Improves remarkably the assimilation and elimination processes of ingested food (better digestion and elimination).
- Slows down the aging mechanism of cells.
- Because of the pressure exerted on the cervical vertebrae, this posture should be avoided if there’s any pain in the neck, especially if it was injured.
- It also should be avoided in case of severe headache.
- For women, inverted postures should be avoided during menstruations.