Shirshasana – Turn your world upside down
Do you also get a mini panic attack when your yoga instructor says that now it is time for headstand practice? There may be many reasons for panic; The fear of falling. Your upper body is not strong enough. Your base is too unstable. A weak core or poor balance. These are just some of the reasons! But – Practice makes perfect and there is so many benefits to why you should be practicing headstand.
”Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head”.
Quote Swami Satchidananda.
Shirshasana (Headstand) – The Yoga position is known as the king of all yoga asanas (yoga positions). In the correct execution of the head position, this position is very beneficial. Shirshasana consists in balancing the body on the head. It strengthens your neck muscles, improve your balance and blood circulation to your head, resulting in many other benefits.
Benefits of Shirshasana:
- Head position improves the body’s total blood circulation to the head, which helps improve memory and concentration.
- Regular inversion helps reduce hair loss as this asana increases blood circulation in the scalp.
- Shirshasana helps a balanced digestive system, increases body heat and flow. The intestines are cleansed by reversing gravity while an overload of blood in the large intestine is released.
- Headstand also improves your ability to balance your body.
- Shirshasana helps ease the pressure of the veins in the legs, so people suffering from varicose veins will find great relief by practicing this asana regularly.
- Shirshasana also benefits people who are suffering from insomnia or other sleep problems.
- Shishasana also helps relieve problems related to back pain.
- Inversion gives peace to the heart by gravity.
- Shirshasana stimulates deeper breathing, which strengthens the lungs and increases your energy levels.
- The position strengthens your deep core muscles. To keep the balance in the pose, activate oblique, rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus. To really strengthen the core, you can challenge yourself by lifting and lowering with strait legs getting in and out of the position.
It is advisable for beginners to start the practice against a wall. It prevents you from landing on your back as there is a great opportunity to fall in the initial phase of mastering this asana.
Start in the child’s position and follow these 8 steps to practice in the main position correctly:
- Put your knees in the floor and grab your elbows with your hands.
- Hold your elbows and flatten your fingers in front of you so that elbows and hands form an equilateral triangle.
- Place the upper part of the forearm on the floor with the back of your head placed against your fingers.
- Extend your knees and lift your hips so your body now resembles a reverse V. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between your head – arms and feet.
- Keep your knees as straight as possible, go with small steps and bring your feet as close to your head as possible. This will result in shifting the weight from feet to head and arms. Be sure to keep your back as lifted as possible to avoid hanging in your neck.
- Bend your knees and hold them close to your chest, your feet close to the buttocks. Move the balance up in the hips and slowly slip the floor with your feet.
- Continue with bent knees and lift them slowly to stretch toward the ceiling.
- Make sure your head does not support more than 10% of your body weight, the rest of the weight is supported by the elbows. Initially, hold this position for 5 seconds and gradually increase it to 10 to 15 minutes.
Finish slowly turning back down to the child’s position as you came up. Reflecting on the above 8 steps to practice the headstand position. Take some deep breathing and relax.
I hope this will remove just some of fear of practicing headstands and you will feel more secure in the pose. I practice headstand every day and it is so beneficial. My core strength has improved exponentially. My arm balances has become more confident. Every inversion in my practice feels more deepened and stabilized.
Charlotte Thingvad – Free Spirit