Shirshasana, in ancient yogic texts, is described as the king of all yoga poses due to its amazing physical, psychological and mental health effects on the body. Shirshasana influences each and every single part of your body and makes you strong enough.
The name Shirshasana is derived from two Sanskrit words:
Shirsha = Head
Asana = Posture
The weight of the whole body is balanced on the head, hence the name Headstand Pose.
How to do Shirshasana (Headstand Pose)
Starting Position: Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
- Interlock your fingers and move your body forward placing the forearms on the floor. Spread the elbows slightly more than shoulder-width apart, forming an equilateral triangle.
- Place the crown of your head in the space between your palms. Gently press your hands against your head to get a firm grip.
- Raise your buttocks off the floor making the knees and legs straight.
- Walk a few steps towards your head, as much as you possibly can (without straining).
- Slightly bend the knees, tuck your thighs in your abdomen and chest. Slowly shift the weight of your body from toes to head and arms. Balance the body.
- Carefully lift one foot off the ground, maintaining the balance and then the other foot.
- Slowly, bend your knees bringing the heels near your buttocks.
- Slowly raise the legs either one by one or together, in the vertical position. The body must be straight. This is the final position.
Hold the pose for as long as it feels comfortable. Breath normally.
Release the pose
To come out of the pose, slowly bend your knees. Lower your legs carefully to the ground while maintaining your balance. Stay in a kneeling position for a while and then lift the head to return back to the starting position. Relax the body.
- Practice Shirshasana once for the duration of 3-5 minutes, though 10-30 seconds are enough if you are a beginner.
- You can also try to practice against a wall (if you struggle a lot while balancing) as that will support your body weight and reduce the stress on neck muscles.
- Ideally, the weight of the body is held by the head only and arms only provide support. Beginners must avoid doing so till the neck becomes strong enough to bear the weight.
- If you are new to Shirshasana, practice it at the end of your yoga practice.
An experienced practitioner can practice it either in the end or at the beginning.
Benefits of Shirshasana (Headstand Pose)
- Increases blood circulation in the brain and upper part of the body.
- Regulates irregular menstruation and keeps reproductive organs healthy.
- Reduces mental and emotional stress and anxiety.
- Tones abdominal muscles and reproductive organs.
- Improves the functioning of the brain and relaxes the mind.
- Increases memory power and improves concentration.
- Regulates the functioning of all the systems of the body.
- Reverse blood circulation keeps the eyesight healthy as well as the ears and tonsils.
- The reverse flow of blood leads to tissue regeneration in the lower part of the body.
- Moves stagnant blood from the lower part of the body such as the abdomen, legs and reproductive organs.
Precautions for Shirshasana
Avoid practising Headstand Pose if you suffer from any of these conditions:
- Frequent Headaches, High Blood Pressure, Neck problem, Heart problems, Constipation, weak eye blood vessels, Kidney problems
- Catarrh (excessive discharge or build-up of mucus in the nose or throat)