Inversions are necessary elements of an advanced yoga practitioner’s daily regimen. Sirsasana, also known as the Headstand Pose, is rightly hailed as the king of all the yoga asanas. It is a great peak pose that works by defying gravity. Hence, it is essential to navigating through a powerful sequence to prepare the body and mind for the culmination. To practice Sirsasana, you need to be careful!
It is a Sanskrit word that means headstand or head pose. Sirsa mean head and asana stands for the pose. And, hence the name. It is considered as the king of all the poses as the head bears the entire weight of the body. The practitioner’s body is entirely upside down, and that is why it has some cool benefits.
These are a handful of reasons why one should practice Sirsasana. The asana:
- Stimulates the flow of stagnant blood from the lower body to the heart
- Calms the brain by stimulating blood flow
- Beneficial for stress and anxiety management
- Strengthens the arms, spine, legs, and lungs
- Enhances the functioning of the pineal and pituitary glands
- Stimulates, tones, and strengthens abdominal organs
- Helps with menopausal management
- Has a positive impact on insomnia and sinusitis
How to do Sirsasana For Beginners
Here is a step-by-step for practicing Sirsasana 1.
- Start in Vajrasana, the kneeling pose.
- Fold forward from the hips and rest the arms on the floor. Interlace the fingers and adjust the arrangement so that the arms and elbows make a triangle on the floor.
- Rest the crown of the head on the interlaced fingers. Inhale and while exhaling, tuck the toes, and come into Dolphin Pose. Lift the hips to the ceiling.
- Breathing deeply, keep lifting the hips to the roof. While breathing out, gently walk the legs closer to the head, shifting the pressure on the body to the palms. Relax the neck and the head completely.
- Once here, gently press the knees against the abdomen. Balancing on the arms, inhale, hold the breath, and gently lift the torso and legs away from the floor. Hold for five to seven breaths to make the body comfortable.
- Slowly, exhale. On the next inhalation, lift the torso up, allowing it to come perpendicular to the floor. Keep the knees bent. Balance on the arms, cupping the head against the palms. This is an intermediate stage.
- Maintain the neck long and do not exert any pressure on the head. Use the strength of the arms and core to hold the posture.
- Hold for five to seven breaths here. Once this stage becomes comfortable, straighten the legs completely so that the entire body comes perpendicular to the floor.
- Rest the whole weight of the body on the palms while relaxing the head and neck completely. Hold the posture for five to seven breaths.
- Breathe deeply to hold the pose longer, mindfully becoming aware of the head region and breath.
- To release the posture, follow the steps mentioned above in the reverse order. With an exhalation, bend the knees first and get into the intermediate stage. Wait for a couple of breaths before releasing the foot to the floor. Once the toes touch the floor, gently relax in Balasana or Savasana.
The posture described above is also known as Salamba Sirsasana.
- Back injury
- Heart condition
- Low blood pressure
- Neck injury
- Uterus issues
- Diastasis recti or any other damage to core muscles
Sirsanana For Beginners Tips
This posture is meant for intermediate to advanced level practitioners. Hence, it is advisable for beginners to practice Sirsasana strictly under professional supervision to learn the pose thoroughly.
- Balancing is a challenge when it comes to Headstand. Beginners could practice the asana against a wall. Rest the clasped hands on the wall. If possible, choose a right-angled corner to support the shoulders, hips, and heels.
- Arm and core should be strong for getting into headstand. Hence, it is advisable to practice poses such as arm balances, including Handstand, before getting into Headstand.
- Beginners can also practice half-Headstand with one or both of the legs parallel to the floor, by making a 90-degree angle at the knee.
It is also known as the Tripod Headstand. It is a slightly intense variation of the posture described above.
Tripod Headstand Step-by-Step Guide
- Start by coming onto all fours, wrists under the shoulders, and knees under the hips. Keep a slight bend in the elbows.
- Gently rest the crown of the head on the floor, 5 to 6 inches away from the palms.
- Inhale, tuck the toes, and lift the hips to the ceiling so that the body resembles a mountain.
- Roll the shoulders back and away from the ears. Engaging the core muscles, lean the torso forward to come on the tippy toes.
- Take a couple of breaths here. Inhale, and shift the hips forward to bring the legs parallel to the floor.
- Hold the posture for five to seven breaths.
- Inhale and straighten lift the legs to the ceiling. Tuck the tailbone inward and engage the core muscles. Activate the pelvis and hold the posture for five to seven breaths.
- To release the pose, exhale and repeat the steps mentioned above in the reverse order.
- Rest in Child’s Pose.
- Fold the mat and make a cushion to prevent the head from slipping away.
- Engage the core muscles and activate the pelvis while lengthening the spine through the neck to play it safe.
- Do not allow the elbows to splay.
- Remain mindful and keep breathing throughout the practice.
The variations of this posture are mainly done by manipulating the leg positions.
- One can practice Eka Pada Sirsasana where one leg rests perpendicular to the floor, and another one is parallel to the ground. Make sure to turn the parallel leg outward, allowing its sitting bone to face the other side to keep the hips squared.
- Wide-Legged Sirsasana is yet another variation where one can open the legs wide apart just like Upavistha Konasana, the Seated Wide-Legged Angle Pose.
- Baddha Konasana In Sirsana is a fun-filled variation where one can join the soles of the feet, allowing the knee to open to the sides. It offers good hip and IT-band stretch.
- Padmasana in Sirsasana is a wonderful way to practice Headstand. However, it has a pretty deep impact on the circulation. Hence, play it safe!
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Dolphin Pose
- Pincha Mayurasana
- Salamba Sarvangasana
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
Sirsasana Side Effects
There are no side effects of practicing Sirsasana, but they are not for everyone. The slightest carelessness could also invite injuries. Neck strains are prevalent in these practices. So if there are any cardiovascular conditions or hypertension or any recent neck injuries, refrain from this practice. As mentioned earlier, avoid the practice if there are any gynecological conditions also.
Sirsasana is a good for everyone, but it is advisable to ensure that the prepare the body and mind to stay safe!