The Headstand – Sirsasana

The Headstand is called Sirsasana in Sanskrit. “Sirs” means head and “asana” means brings together in eternal cosmic vibration.

Use this posture to open and expand your thinking

Before beginning the Headstand a student should first begin with the Downward dog and Hanging forward bend. These are called inversions because they place your head below your heart. Inverted yoga positions increase blood flow to the head and send healing energy from the earth throughout the upper torso. Practice these positions until you feel strong in them, and in general, notice an increase in focus and alertness.

At the onset, learn to go into the Headstand gently. Start by lifting one leg up a wall in the Downward dog. Then do both sides. As shoulder strength increases  begin walking your hands toward the wall, while keeping a keen eye that:

  • your left and right sides are balanced
  • your sacrum is a bridge of protection
  • your elbows aren’t locked or stiff
  • your weight is evenly distributed
  • your head is free
  • your spine is extended, not constricted anywhere

Use your biceps/triceps to lift the body. Once you have increased strength and confidence, practice the Downward dog on your elbows, treating the posture like push ups, adding: legs lifted up the wall – one at a time.

At this point in learning the Headstand it is recommended that one take a class with a teacher, in order to ascertain the exact method for the Headstand. It also gives students an opportunity to do it for the first time with assistance. They call Headstands “Kings of Asana” for a reason, as this pose it formidable, and yes, a great source of power.

Directions for the Headstand

Interlace your fingers, placing one little finger tucked under, so it is protected. Keep wrists perpendicular.

Place your interlaced hands on the floor. Keep elbows narrower than shoulders, because they naturally slip out.

Do the Down dog on your elbows, and place the top of your head on the floor between your hands. Make sure the C-curve of the cervical spine is protected.

Lift off from the floor to the wall, keeping your buttock away from the wall. Balance your weight on your elbows, and maintain your alignment. Don’t drop onto one side or the other. Watch your linear and lateral positioning.

Stay in the Headstand for short periods at first, working up in duration incrementally.

Descend slowly from the position, and rise up to an erect position one vertebra at a time. It’s best not to stay in Childs pose –  as resting your head directly on the mat can block prana (energy flow).

As you move from kneeling to upright breathe into your 3 main upper torso energy centres:

  1. Sahasrara, the Crown cakra
  2. Vishuddha, the Throat cakra
  3. Anahata, the Heart cakra

Tips for the Headstand

  • If you feel compression in any part of your body come out of the Headstand.
  • Place weight in even distribution between your head and your forearms.
  • Make micro-adjustments so the top of your head rests on the mat comfortably.
  • Direct your increased energy. Visualize where it needs to move.

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