Benefits of Standing on Your Head (Salamba Sirshasana)

By Patricia | November 12, 2008
Head Stand Yoga For Asthma

The Head stand is also called Sirshasana in Sanskrit and if you are anxious about this posture, remember that there is nothing to be afraid of. It is quite a simple asana, really, that anyone can master in a short span of time, with practice and determination.

  1. Use a folded Yoga blanket to cushion the head and forearms in head stand. Start by kneeling down then interlock your fingers and place your forearms on your mat. Keep your elbows shoulder-width apart. Turn your upper arms out, just a little, while remembering to press your wrists firmly into the mat.
  2. Next place the crown of your head into the space between your clasped hands, nestling the back of your head against your interlocked hands.
  3. With a deep inhalation, raise your knees from off the floor then slowly crawl near your elbows keeping your heels raised. Lift actively through your thighs, forming a topsy-turvy "V."
  4. With a deep exhalation, raise your feet from your mat. Lift both feet up simultaneously, even if you have to bend your knees. As your legs rise at right angles to the floor, turn in your upper thighs a little, and firmly push your heels toward the ceiling. For this you will have to straighten your bent knees as you go up. The feet should align with your pelvis that in turn must be aligned over the crown of your head.
  5. Firm your outer arms continue pressing your shoulder blades against your back. Balancing your weight equally on both your forearms continue to push tailbone upward toward the soles of your feet. Once you have fully stretched the backs of your legs through your heels, maintain the stretch and push your feet up so that your toes are pointing to the ceiling.
  6. In the beginning hold the pose for 10 seconds. Slowly add a few more seconds to your daily practice until you are able to comfortably stay in the pose for 2 – 3 minutes, after which you can keep up the practice for 3 minutes daily for a week or so, till you feel quite comfortable doing this. Keep increasing the seconds to your daily practice till you reach a stage where you are able to stay in the pose for up to 5 minutes.
  7. To exit the pose, slowly descend with an exhalation, but don’t lose the lift of your shoulder blades till both your feet come to rest on your mat.

Benefits Of Head Stand (Salamba Sirshasana)

  • The Head Stand helps relieve stress and mild depression by calming the brain
  • It stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands
  • The head stand also strengthens the arms, legs, chest, abdomen and spine
  • It helps to tone up the abdominal organs and improve digestion
  • The Head Stand helps alleviate symptoms of menopause
  • It is also very beneficial for asthmatics, insomniacs, and those suffering from sinusitis
  • Moreover, you relax all your muscles and build up power, structure, strength, and stability in your neck, upper back and arms.

Contraindications :

  • The Head Stand should be avoided by people suffering from headaches, heart condition, low and high blood pressure, neck and back injury and during menstruation
  • Pregnant women can continue to practice it late into pregnancy only if they are experienced and comfortable with pose. Never, ever start practicing Sirshasana after getting pregnant.

Caution :

  • Sirshasana is an advanced pose that should never be done without adequate prior experience or without the guidance of a trained and experienced tutor.
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