Sirsasana – headstand
How do you get into this pose:
You get into Sirsasana by practicing first the Dolphin pose.
Go on your four, make sure that hands on the floor are aligned with your shoulders and that pelvis is parallel to the floor; your legs are bent (knees on the floor) at 90’ angle.
Bring down your elbows on the floor and make sure the distance between them is the one you reach by holding your elbows with the arms (right hand on left elbow and left hand on right elbow, as if you wanted to hug yourself!)
Then cross your hands on the floor in front and place the head crown in between, but not directly on the hands, rather on the floor. Your Dolphin is there!
After that, you can lift your pelvis, straighten your legs and slowly you can walk your feet on your tiptoes toward the arms/elbows.
The closer you get, the higher your hip.
Once you are really close, engage all your Bandhas and slowly lift up your pelvis; bend your knew and keep lifting.
You will stretch your legs only once you are up and inverted.
Stay there for at least 20 breaths.
If the weight is well distributed you will not feel it in the neck, but on the forearms resting on the floor.
To sustain the balance your Bandhas must be kept in all the time, as well as your legs muscles and gluteus muscles.
What happens to your body during this pose:
Triceps are agonists and biceps are antagonists. Both together these muscles stabilize the forearms on the floor and avoid that the ball and socket joins at your shoulders can be injured.
Deltoids trapezius and the muscles on the shoulder blades are also all engaged and help freeing the neck and stabilizing the shoulder joints.
Agonist muscles here are the ones along the spine, which help lifting the back into inverted pose and remain there. Antagonists here are the abdominal muscles, which keep the ribcage at its place and prevent it from coming out of the spinal alignment.
Lumbar muscles are also engaged together with the psoas and gluteus muscles to support the lumbar area.
Pelvis and legs:
Agonist and antagonist actions come from the psoas and from the gluteus muscles; this allows the pelvis to keep aligned.
Tensor fascia lata are engaged together with the gluteus muscles and with the adductor muscles to prevent legs from splitting and stay closed together. Quadriceps are engaged and keep knees straight.
The calf muscles are engaged to keep the feet in a flexed position and slightly outward.
The body cannot waver when all these muscles are engaged.
Headstand is a pose that you integrate often in the closing sequence, restoring heart rate to a low/normal pace (after having practiced intense poses).
This pose has also a very positive impact on the endocrine system, especially on the glands based in the head (pineal gland producing melatonin, pituitary gland and hypothalamus).
The effect is similar to that we reach via meditation and sleep like state.