Salamba Sirsasna

Headstand

Asana: Salamba Sirsasna-Headstand… of which there are many variations. Going upside down in any form helps change our P.O.V.

For beginners, place your mat or folded blanket 2-3 inches from a corner. Working with corners helps you to feel if the body is in alignment.  If you can, find a friend who knows how to assist.  Place elbows on floor, grasping upper arm muscles in opposite hands to make sure elbows are aligned under shoulders. Interlock fingers and nest back of head close to palms, with crown on the floor.  Lift legs into a bent-kneed Down Dog and if possible, walk feet in until hips stack on top of shoulders. If this is new, lift legs up with knees bent, place feet on the wall so you feel safe.  Stay as long as you are comfortable, do not close your eyes. Slowly roll down the way you went up.  Congratulate yourself.  Going upside down the first few times can be very scary.

For the more advanced, follow all of the above until you are ready to lift legs.  As you begin to lift straight legs, move hips slightly back to counter-balance legs lifting together, side by side, until they are parallel to floor.  For 5-10 breaths, remain in Urdhva Dandasana, legs strongly extended out from hips, before continuing up to full Sirsasana.

Just as we are aware in changing our P.O.V., we must remain conscious throughout this Pose.  Keep shoulders high above floor, the weight primarily in a small circle in the center of the head, the trunk, thighs, and heels in a perfect perpendicular line to the floor.

Health Notes: Called the king of all asanas because it affects the brain, and therefore the entire body, physically, emotionally, mentally, Sirsasana flows new blood through brain cells, rejuvenating and clearing out.  It also supplies blood to the pituitary and pineal glands, which govern our vitality, growth and health. It assists the lungs to fight off colds, and tonsillitis.  If you have trouble sleeping, or suffer from low energy, the regular practice of this asana will help shift the balance.

Be careful if you suffer from high or low blood pressure.  Do the pose only with a knowledgeable practitioner.