Yoga is a practice of the mind and body that has been around for thousands of years. It is an important part of Indian religions and philosophy. The term yoga means “to join” or “to unite” in Sanskrit. It goals to unite or join one’s mind, body, and spirit harmoniously together.
In yogic traditions, yoga is a combination of different techniques in controlled breathing called Pranayama, the physical poses called Asana, and meditation. The practice of yoga has different styles and types that can be classified as Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga, Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga, Jivamukti yoga, Kripalu yoga, Kundalini yoga, Power Yoga, Sivananda, Viniyoga, Prenatal yoga, and Restorative yoga.
The headstand yoga or more commonly called as Sirsasana is from the Sanskrit word “Sirsa” which means “the head”. It is also called the “King” of all asanas.
How to Do the Headstand Yoga Pose
- Start in a kneeling position on the floor or yoga mat.
- Lower the upper body down and place the forearms on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- Clasp hands by interlocking the fingers together and rest the crown of your head against the floor, close to your hands.
- Lift your hips and straighten your legs.
- Walk towards your shoulders and keep the inverted “V” position.
- While keeping the legs straight, slowly lift the right leg towards the ceiling.
- Once you feel steady, lift the left leg towards the right.
- Balance weight on the forearms and keep the core strong.
While the Sirsasana pose allows the body to completely invert while being supported by the arms, it is a good basic pose to start with before doing other variations of the headstand pose. Other variations of the headstand pose include: Sirsasana II, upward facing staff pose, tripod headstand, headstand pose with chairs and blocks, half headstand pose, one-legged headstand pose, revolved one-legged headstand pose, squeezing pose, side headstand pose, and tripod headstand pose in lotus legs.
Benefits of Headstand Yoga
It promotes blood circulation in the head and in the eyes.
The inverted position of the body allows the blood to flow to the upper part of the body which includes the brain and the eyes. Because of the circulation of the blood throughout the body, more oxygen and nutrients can flow to the head. This also prevents eyesight problems like loss of eyesight or macular degeneration. Headstand yoga also helps prevent migraines and headaches. With the continuous blood flow in the brain, it makes the blood vessels relax and become stronger.
Blood flow in the head also helps in memory improvement and concentration.
Increased blood flow will keep the blood vessels healthy which will allow improvement on concentration and mental function. It can help avoid Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
It helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Sirsasana is one of the poses that allows cooling of the body. Combining it will slow and controlled breathing allows the mind and body to relax. It is also helpful for people who have anger management.
It is good for the heart.
It is also good for the heart as the headstand yoga pose helps reduce the tension in the heart by allowing the blood flow and helps remove blockages. Since yoga, in general, helps in keeping the mind and body calm, it helps maintain the blood pressure at the right level.
It helps strengthen the arms and shoulders.
It is a good exercise to strengthen the core in general which helps the upper body and muscle endurance. Since this is a posture that requires the body to be erect, it also helps in aligning the vertebral column and helps correct minor postural problems.
It is a good exercise to cure piles and varicose veins.
These problems happen because of blood that gets accumulated in the lower part of the body which includes the legs and the anus. It is the same for those with problems like edema. Since the headstand posture promotes blood flow, it helps relieve the pressure on the blood vessels, preventing the blood from getting stagnant. It also allows the fluid in the legs to be flushed out of the body and reverse the effect of gravity on the fluids inside our body.
It helps the pituitary glands.
This posture helps improve the functions of the pituitary glands by putting pressure on it that allows increase production of the hormones that are needed for good health. The blood flows into the brain helps improve the nervous system that also regenerates the functions of the endocrine system. With the improved functions of the pituitary gland, it will also positively help in relieving diabetes.
Headstand yoga is a natural treatment for hair loss.
Baldness and grey hair are usually because of the lack of nutrients and poor blood circulation. Doing this pose regularly makes the scalp healthy by allowing blood flow and providing nutrients thus decreasing instances of hair fall and promoting the growth of hair.
It helps the immune system.
The Sirsasana post helps boost the immune system by helping the body transport lymph fluids through the lymphatic vessels. The lymph fluid has plenty of white blood cells or leukocytes that protects the body from infectious diseases and foreign bodies in the blood by attacking bacteria and viruses.
Precautions Before Doing Headstand Yoga
Since the headstand yoga is an advanced posture in yoga, practicing and learning this asana should be under the guidance of an instructor or a yoga teacher. Doing this incorrectly can cause an injury to the body. Make sure that the body is conditioned before doing this posture. It is a good practice to always warm the body and the muscles before attempting the headstand. Do not practice this pose if you have any form of neck or back injury. It should also be avoided by pregnant women or those who are on their periods. Any inverted postures are also not good for people experiencing high blood pressure, heart failure, and those with glaucoma or weak blood vessels in the eyes. Never hold breath whenever doing yoga poses, the right, and controlled breathing should be practiced while doing any asanas, not just the headstand yoga pose.