Sirsasana

As I mustard up the courage and remind myself that each challenging asanas that I am about to take, is all about a journey not a goal. And that is why when we talk about yoga we refer to it as, “My practice.” So with every challeging asanas its; practice, practice, practice!
It took me weeks to allow myself to get to trust my shoulders and while at it to suck that belly in! Finally once my world came upside down (so to speak!), I couldn’t get enough of it!

Sirsasana or headstand is considered one of the most powerful asanas in yoga. Initially, it would be better to take the help of your yoga instructor until you perfect the posture. Placing a rolled up yoga mat or folded blanket under your head may also help with the extra padding. Most beginners also do the headstand against a wall or in a corner of a room for added security.

1. To begin the Sirsasana, fold your legs under you and remain seated on the heels of your feet. Keep your neck, spine and head in one line and breathe deeply and calmly.
2. Interlock your fingers and place your hands on the mat in front of your with the palms facing upwards.
3. Keep your elbows shoulder width apart and place the top of your head in between the cupped interlaced fingers.
4. Raise your hips and move your feet towards the head by taking small steps. Continue doing this until your hips are over your shoulders.
5. Bend your knees and bring them to your chest. As a beginner it may be easier to do this one leg at a time.
6. Lift both feet off the floor until they are in a straight line above your hips.
7. Keep your back straight and breathe deeply.
8. All the pressure should be on your forearms and not your head or neck.
9. Hold for ten to fifteen seconds.
10. Slowly bend the knees and place one leg on the floor. Bring the other leg down.

Benefits of Sirsasana
• Sirsasana pulls the stagnant blood in the lower limbs back to the heart for purification.
• Sirsasana improves the flow of the blood to head region with many related benefits. It tones the pituitary gland which is the master gland that influences the functioning of the rest of the endocrine glands. It can improve the functioning of reproductive glands.
• It can relieve headaches.
• The extra flow of the blood in the head is good for the eyes and other organs.
• It can take off the gravitational pressure from the organs of the abdomen. It can help to relieve piles and hydrocele.
• During the inverted stand, many internal visceral muscles which do not usually get stretched get exercised.
• It can help with management of asthma.
• It increases general vitality of the body.

Contraindications and Cautions
• Back injury
• Headache
• Heart condition
• High blood pressure
• Menstruation
• Neck injury
• Low blood pressure: Don’t start practice with this pose
• Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, don’t take up the practice of Sirsasana after you become pregnant.
• Sirsasana is considered to be an intermediate to advanced pose. Do not perform this pose without sufficient prior experience or unless you have the supervision of an experienced teacher. Some schools of yoga recommend doing Sirsasana before Sarvangasana, others vice versa. The instruction here assumes the former order.

Modifications and Props
Balance in this pose is difficult at first. Perform Sirsasana against a wall. Bring the knuckles of the clasped hands to the wall. If possible, do the pose in the corner of a room, so that the right-angled walls touch your shoulders, hips, and outer heels.
Deepen the Pose
Check the position of the inner wrists in the pose. They tend to fall outward, shifting the weight onto the outer forearms. Turn the pinkies away from the back of your head, and bring the inner wrists perpendicular to the floor. As you firm the outer upper arms inward, press the wrists actively into the floor.
Preparatory Poses
• Adho Mukha Svanasana
• Salamba Sarvangasana
• Uttanasana
• Virasana

Namaste
Midah
200hr TTC, Jan-Feb 2016