Sirhasana, or head stand, used to be one of my favourite Yoga postures. That is until I got whiplash three years ago and then another neck injury following this. Since then it is something I have tended to avoid. When flicking through my copy of Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha I came across the section on Sirhasana and thought I would try it out and add it to my practice again. I realised that because I was feeling scared about doing it myself I was avoiding teaching it too so I added it into my general classes!
Of course, if you have never done this under the guidance of a teacher I would definitely recommend you learn first in a safe environment before you practice on your own.
It is easy to lose your balance if your core strength isn’t up to scratch or your arms and shoulders are weak, so stick with first stage below until you can lift the toes off the floor and balance for a good length of time with them just off the ground (stage 2) before you even try to lift the legs.
Once again, pain is not gain, pain is your body telling you there’s an emergency you need to address i.e. EASE OFF. Little by little you will strengthen and eventually be able to go further, when your body is ready. Charging ahead and trying to do postures without the strength necessary only causes injury and problems later.
According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati: “Sirhasana increases blood flow to the brain and pituitary gland which helps to rectify many forms of nervous and glandular disorders especially those related to the reproductive system. It reverses the the upward return flow of blood in the leg and visceral regions, which aids in tissue rebuilding. It removes psychological disturbances and relieves headaches, asthma, hay fever, lack of energy. It is the greatest of all asanas as it totally revitalises the mind and body”.
Not to be practiced:
- By persons with high blood pressure, vertigo, heart palpitations, thrombosis, chronic catarrgh, chronic constipation, spinal problems (especially slipped disc), any condition of impure blood or severe nearsightedness.
- Until at least three hours after food
- Immediately after vigorous exercise
Over the past few weeks I have rediscovered the posture and also remembered that there are different stages to go to, plus even more advanced after you have finally achieved a basic headstand posture. This is demonstrated beautifully by my lovely fellow Yogini Anandarupa below:
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