1. शीर्षासन - Śīrṣāsana – Headstand

The 'King of the Asanas'

By Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams

Group Asana - HeadstandSivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams

Śīrṣāsana/  Headstand comes from
the Sanskrit śīrṣa meaning head and āsana meaning posture.

Known as the 'King of the Asanas', Being an inverted posture it confers powerful stimulation of the brain through increased blood supply. Its practice helps in stimulating memory power, sharpening the senses and invigorating the pineal and pituitary glands. The cardiac output is increased, strengthening the heart. Śīrṣāsana also develops self-confidence and courage. 

Precautions

Do NOT practise the headstand if you have high blood pressure, eye conditions such as glaucoma and retinal detachment, have neck issues, are more than 4 months pregnant or against medical advice. It can be avoided during menstruation.

Child's Pose, Shashankasana, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Preparation

Get on the knees and bend the torso forward into the child's pose. The head should rest on the ground. Arms should be relaxed on the sides.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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From the Child’s Pose bring the hands together so the arms form a tripod on the ground, interlocking the fingers.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Place the top of the head on the ground with back of the head against the hands.
Raise the hips.
Make sure the elbows are stationary.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Slowly walk the feet forward, towards the head.
Keep the hips up and the knees straight.
Bend the knees in towards the chest.
Bring the heels up to the buttocks.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Straighten the back making sure the spine retains its natural curve.
Be able to balance in this position for at least 30 seconds before going further.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Keeping the knees bent and together, slowly straighten the hips until the bent knees are pointing up.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Straighten the knees. Make the breath smooth and rhythmic. Ensure that the majority of the weight comes through the elbows. Hold for 15 seconds, increasing to 5-10 minutes.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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To come out of the position, bend the knees.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Bend the hips.

Head Stand, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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Bring the feet to the floor.

Child's Pose, Shashankasana, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
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And relax in the Child's Pose until the breath is back to normal.

Common Mistakes While Performing Asanas Headstand- wrong methodSivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams

Headstand        common            mistakes

Do not bend the knees whilst walking into the posture. Do not kick up into the posture. Bring both the legs up slowly.

Common Mistakes While Performing Asanas Headstand- wrong methodSivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams

The back should not be over-arched with the legs dropping. The abdominal muscles should not be relaxed. The shoulders should not be hunched.

Place the top on the head not the forehead on the ground. Keep 90% of weight on elbows and forearms. Keep the elbows firmly on the ground. Do not let them slip to the sides. Only 10% of the weight should be on the head and/or neck. Do not twist the body.

How to do the HeadstandSivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

• Slower breathing & heart rates, strong respiratory and circulatory systems.
• Increased flow of blood & nutrients to brain, spinal cord and sympathetic nervous system.
• All body functions are toned and enhanced. Disorders of the nerves, eyes, ears, nose and throat are improved.
• Relief for varicose veins, renal colic, and stubborn constipation, dropped stomach and asthma.
• Pressure is relieved in the lower back.

MENTAL BENEFITS

• Memory & intellectual capacity are increased.
• Improved concentration: particularly beneficial to people who need strong powers of concentration in their work: students, politicians, artists, scientists and writers.
• Improved sensory faculties (eyesight, hearing).

Credits: Story

Anyone learning these postures should only do so under the supervision of a competent teacher. The instructions shared as part of this exhibit are for reference and knowledge only. Anyone following these on their own, they do so at their own risk. Persons with health issues and or during pregnancy are advised to consult a medical expert before attempting any of the postures.

Demonstrators in the photographs: Kannan, Padmavati, Ananda, Eri, Asha, Shreyas, Rohit  

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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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