Standing Upside Down for Better Health

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on December 14, 2012

Standing on your head, commonly known as “performing a headstand”, is an act of balancing your body on your head and hands. This upside down exercise has several health benefits. The headstand, known as Sirsasana in Sanskrit is a premium yoga pose. The headstand, known as Sirsasana in Sanskrit is a premium yoga pose.


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The Sivananda School of yoga, a premier yoga institution, hails the headstand as ‘a cure for all diseases.’

The headstand is attributed with varied benefits, ranging from physical and mental to cosmetic. Here are some of the benefits of a headstand.

  • Mental health benefits: The headstand improves the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. This invigorates and energizes the mind, activates metabolism, boosts circulation, enhances concentration, and reduces stress, anxiety and insomnia.
  • Body strength and toning: A headstand engages the back, neck, shoulder and abdominal muscles, which reinforces and tones the core muscles and improves balance.
  • Improved digestive system: The upside down position of the headstand stimulates the pituitary gland, referred to as the master gland, which secretes hormones that convert food into energy. Headstands condition the intestines and the colon and regulate bowel movement. A headstand is effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Strong immune system: A headstand enhances the lymphatic system and improves the circulation of lymph fluid- a clear fluid, which fortifies the system against dangerous microorganisms and other foreign bodies.
  • Stable hormones and endocrine function: A headstand rejuvenates the hypothalamus, that part of the brain that manages the pituitary gland, which controls the activities of several hormone glands such as the thyroid, pineal and the adrenal glands.
  • A healthy nervous system: When effectively done over a period of time, headstands nurture and strengthen the nervous system and help cure insomnia.
  • A nourished cardiovascular system: A headstand reduces the strain on the heart. The upside down position of the pose makes it easier for the de-oxygenated blood to flow from other parts of the body to the heart.
  • Strengthened lung function: The inverted position of the headstand increases the flow of oxygenated blood in to the lungs and strengthens them.
  • Reduces stress and depression: A headstand, if practiced regularly and correctly, alleviates depression and stress. A headstand causes the refreshed pituitary glands to release endorphins, the happy hormone, which energizes the body and controls anxiety. Headstands stimulate the production of dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin, hormones that balance the mood.
  • Skin nourishment and hair care: Being in an inverted position while performing a headstand boosts the supply of oxygen rich blood to the face. The enhanced blood circulation to the face corrects wrinkles and tightens facial muscles. Increased blood circulation also nourishes the scalp and hair follicles, resulting in thick, black and lustrous hair.

A Headstand is a complex pose that requires proper practice and training. The pose, if not practised properly can result in fatal injuries. It is advisable to learn the inverted pose from a qualified yoga practitioner.

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