The King of Asanas

The feeling of hanging out upside down is terrific. The weightlessness, peacefulness and calmness I feel while in Sirsasana (headstand) are what I have never encountered. Sirsasana also increases the amount of oxygen to the brain by the gravitational flow of blood and I have found myself getting into this pose after a long day at work to think about how my day went. To get into Sirsasana:

1. First kneel down and place your forearms on the mat, elbows are shoulder width. Interlace your fingers loosely and tuck in your pinkie to prevent injury to your finger that is pressing against the met when you get into Sirsasana.

2. Next, place the crown of your head on the mat and place the back of the head into the open palms. Lightly wrap your palms around the back of your head. Press the inner wrists and elbows firmly into the mat.

3. Inhale and lift your knees off the mat. With your heels elevated carefully walk your feet closer to your elbows to form an inverted “V.” Firm the shoulder blades against your back and mindfully depress them to prevent the weight of the shoulders from collapsing onto your neck and head.

4. As you move in, and when your hip is in line and stacked right above your head, exhale and lift your feet away from the mat. In this position, play around and try lifting one foot at a time to get used to the feeling of being upside down. Then try lifting both legs off the mat, while tucking your knees. Take as much time as you need to get confident in this position and try to engage your uddiyana bandha. If today is not the day to straighten your legs up, perhaps tomorrow will be the day. Always remember to press your wrists and elbow into the mat and not allow the weight of your shoulders to collapse onto your neck and head.

5. When you feel confident, straighten your feet upwards towards the sky so that they are lengthened through the heels to align over the pelvis and crown of the head. Keep your uddiyana bandha engaged and activate your gluteus muscles and thighs.

6. Keep the outer arms inward and continue to depress the shoulder blades. Keep the weight evenly balanced on the two forearms. Once the backs of the legs are fully lengthened through the heels, maintain that length and press up to activate the entire length of the legs and gluteus muscles.

7. Come down with an exhalation with controlled movement, with both feet touching the floor at the same time. Do not lose the lift of the shoulder blades. Proceed to Balasana (child’s pose) as counter-pose.

8. Continue practicing each day until you feel relatively comfortable in the pose.

Now, have fun hanging upside down! Namaste.

Jeremy Lim

200 Hour YTT (Weekend Batch)