Updated: Dec 17, 2022
Benefits of Sirsasana ( Headstand)
Benefits of Sirsasana are many:
• It counteracts tiredness, improves concentration and boosts self-confidence. When practiced correctly, headstand oxygenates the brain. It can also help those with memory loss.
• It helps those with arthritis of the lower back, dorsal region, and shoulder joints. It also reduces lumbago, sciatica, and general backache. Sirsasana works on the legs: any experienced yoga practitioner who has had the misfortune of spraining a knee or an ankle knows how effective this pose is at bringing down a swelling or inflammation in these joints. Varicose veins and coccyx pain and displacement can also be dealt with.
• Diseases of the respiratory system, lungs, heart such as palpitations, asthma, breathlessness, bronchitis, nasal catarrh, chills, cold and cough, and (after medical treatment and rest) pleurisy and pneumonia, can all be brought to vibrant good health through regular practice of this pose.
• This pose also brings relief for those suffering from digestive problems; constipation, acidity, colic and colitis can all be ameliorated with this and other poses. It can also boost low blood pressure.
• Other conditions that greatly benefit from Sirsasana are diabetes, displaced uterus, epilepsy, umbilical hernia, inguinal hernia, impotency, anemia, appendicitis, insomnia, kidney problems, menstrual disorders, prostrate problems, tonsillitis, and duodenal ulcer.
Sirsasana with the triple pleat blanket
The Triple pleat: Working with this support under the head helps you lift the weight of the body away from the neck, therefore avoiding neck strain. Ideally it allows you to remain in the pose for a longer time.
Start by practicing against a wall. Fold your sticky mat into four and place it at the wall. Fold a blanket into a thick, narrow fold, approximately eight inches wide by three inches deep. Place it on the mat, two inches away from the wall with the tail facing out into the room.
Kneel down in front of a wall. Interlace your hands. Place your elbows shoulder width apart on the floor and then place the outer edges of your interlaced hands on the floor, around the outside of the channel, and touching the wall. Place the crown of your head on the channel, which is inside your hands. Do not cover your hands with the blanket.
Raise your hips and straighten your legs. Press your forearms down and lift your shoulders away from the floor. Pull your upper back away from the wall.
Come up one leg at a time.
Place your feet but not your buttocks on the wall. To avoid compressing your neck. Secure a strong base: continue raising your shoulders up and pressing your shoulder-blades in to-ward your chest. Touch the inner edges of your feet together and stretch your legs up.
Moving away from the wall
Gradually move away from the wall, a few inches at a time until you can balance without support. Don’t be in a hurry to do this. Work diligently and methodically to develop strength and balance.
Buddha Konasana in Sirsasana : maintaining a grip with your thighs into your hip sockets by pressing the soles of your feet together.
Upavista Konasana in Sirsasana: Maintaining the grip with your thighs into your hip sockets spread your legs wide without letting your sacrum fall back. Still maintaining the grip on your hips and outer thighs, now rotate your leg position so that the toes and knees face forward again as in Tadasana.
Sirsasana is not for raw beginners. Iyengar yoga teachers really are second to none when it comes to teaching inversions! It is likely you will first be introduced to it in your first year of practice and gradually learn to refine it over many years.
Until you are ready to begin learning headstand, practice lots of standings including Prasarita Padottanasana. Regular practice of Adho Mukha Svanasana, and Sarvangasana also help to prepare you. When they are both steady and comfortable as in, Yoga Sutra 2:46 Sthira Sukham Asanam, you are ready for sirsasana.
Always practice this pose before shoulder stand and practice this pose for the same time, or less but, not more than Sarvangasana.
Thanks to our model, Marieke and fellow teachers at Yoga on Tay in creating this pose of the month.