Sirsasana or headstand is one of my favorite postures these days, but it didn’t use to be. I remember only couple of years ago, when I’ve started practicing the Ashtanga primary series the teacher would say (when we finally reached shoulder stand) “this is now the closing sequence, let it be nourishing, it gets easier now”. All I was thinking “easy? we still have headstand coming…”.
The body is changing, it gets stronger. As we create freedom in the joints and the body is better aligned, everything becomes easier – even headstand.
There are many health benefits to headstand and its variations – but only if we are practicing it safely and have no neck or back issues! We are taking the whole weight of our body on the least stable vertebrates of the spine. So take your time, it takes practice and patience:-)
Headstand is known as a cooling posture, meaning that it helps us to draw our attention inwards. This posture is extremely helpful if you are having anxiety, stress, fear or otherwise worrisome thoughts. Getting upside down and breathing slowly will start to reduce the anxiety.
This posture is increasing the blood flow to our brain and to the adrenal glands. This can help to improve mental function, and increase our sense of focus and our ability to deal with stress- helping our mind to stay sharp, clear and tress free. It also directly stimulating the lymphatic system, helping to remove toxins from the body.
Headstand allows the effects of gravity to be reversed on our internal organs and the legs. The internal organs will be able to rest of the diaphragm – it will make the diaphragm stronger and create more space for the internal organs. That in turn can improve digestion and help the reproductive system in some cases. It will also help to clear any built up water in the legs – relieving any uncomfortable feeling that could happen when we tend to spend long hours on our feet.
While we hold ourselves up in headstand, we should be pushing down into the ground with our forearms, utilizing the strength of our arms, shoulders and back to keep the pressure off of our head and neck. This is an awesome posture for improving upper body strength and muscular endurance. It also relies on our core strength to hold the legs up and keep the balance – makes us even stronger!
During the next few months (February and March), I will be working on headstand at Zama Yoga – join me!