Sirsasana – headstand technique

Sirsasana – Headstand, is the first of the 12 basic postures of Hatha yoga. Nicknamed the “King” of asanas, the headstand is one of the most prominent posture in yoga as there are many physical, mental and spiritual benefits.

Physical Benefits

  • Brings fresh blood to the brain as we are always in an upright position
  • Lessens strain to the heart when gravity stimulates veinous return
  • Reduces pressure in the lower body veins (varicose veins)
  • Focus and control while balancing encourages deeper breathing, strengthening the lungs and increases one’s vitality
  • Relieves pressure in the lower back
  • Improves physical balance

Mental Benefits

  • Helps overcome fear
  • Better concentration
  • Improves memory
  • Higher intellectual capacities
  • Sharpens the senses
  • Improves mental balance

Spiritual Benefits

  • Helps in meditation
  • Allows us to see life from a different perspective

Pre-headstand preparations to strengthen arms and understand the weight distribution better before attempting pose.

  1. Uttana shishosana – Extended puppy pose
    – Opening up chest and shoulders joints
  2. Ardha pincha mayurasana – Dolphin pose
    – Shift body infront of hands into forearm plank and back to dolphin pose for 10 times
    – Build strength and awareness in forearm, biceps, triceps, shoulder and latissimus dorsi muscles.
  3. Ensure your back is facing a wall before going up into the inversion, about 1.5 feet distance away for your bum or feet to fall onto when you lose your balance.

Technique

  1. Kneel down and put elbow infront on mat, grab opposite elbows with your hands.
  2. Keeping the distance of the elbows, rotate forearm forward, clasping both hands together and interlocking fingers. Elbows and hands now form an equilateral triangle.
  3. Place the highest point of your head on the floor with your palms cradling the back of your head
  4. Straighten the knee and raise your hips to look like an inverted letter V. The weight should be about equally distributed between your head/arms and the feet by pushing your shoulders away from ears, contracting the latissimus dorsi muscle to bring your scapulars downwards and neutral.
  5. Keeping your knees straight as much as possible, walk with little steps, bringing your feet as close as possible to your head. This will shift the weight from the feet onto the head/arms. Keep your back as straight as possible to prevent your neck from arching. Hips, abdomen, chest, neck and top of head should eventually be stacked above each other, coming into a vertical straight line.
  6. Bend one knee at a time keeping them close to the chest and your feet close to your buttocks. Shift the hips to find your center of balance and feet should feel light and can almost float off the floor easily with minimum effort.
  7. Keep your knees bent and point your toes to sky.
  8. Checking at this point that your neck and top of head does not feel too much pressure and pushing your forearm away from the floor. Make sure that the head is supporting no more than 10% of your body weight, the rest being applied on the elbows. At first hold it for 5 seconds. Increase gradually to 1 to 5 minutes.

Contra-indications

It is recommended not to do the headstand if you have high or low blood pressure, glaucoma or other eye disease, or any neck problems. Consult your doctor or chiropractor before practicing.

Reference:

http://yoga108.org/pages/show/65-yoga-headstand-shirshasana

200hryogattc weekday – Riane Low