What is Shirshasana (Headstand Pose)
In ancient yogic texts, Shirshasana (Headstand Pose), 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)
- 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, breathing normally.
Release the pose
To come out of the pose, slowly bend your knees. Lower your legs carefully to the ground while maintaining balance. Stay in a kneeling position for a while and then lift the head to return back to the starting position. Relax the body.
Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) Practice Tips
- 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 in the beginning.
Benefits of Shirshasana (Headstand Pose)
- Promotes strong hair
Hair loss, greying of hair, and baldness are often caused due to bad blood circulation in the scalp. Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) increases blood flow and provides nutrients to the scalp region thus decreasing hair fall and the onset of grey hair.
2. Relieve Stress, Depression, and Insomnia
The upside-down position of the headstand or Shirshasana amplifies the flow of blood to the brain. The freshly-oxygenated blood stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands which calm and rejuvenates the mind. The practice of headstand combined with deep breathing is a potent tool for relieving stress, depression, and insomnia.
3. Boost Brain function
When you go upside-down, the blood flow is directed from the feet to the head. This improves mental function and in turn, elevates the focus of the person. Also, enhanced blood flow decreases tensions and makes your mind sharper and clearer.
Studies also mentioned that headstand yoga can make you smarter since they increase nutrients and oxygen transport to the brain. The oxygen and nutrients brought to the brain will nourish the brain cell and make sure it can work well. It also increases memory power. Nutrients and oxygen brought by the blood will stimulate brain cell rejuvenation that directly increases cognitive and memory.
4. Relieve Headache and Migraine:
Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) effectively relaxes and strengthens the blood vessels in the brain thereby preventing headaches and migraines. Also, the practice of headstands increases nutrients in the mind that tranquilizes the brain and prevents headaches.
5. Normalize Blood pressure
This position can improve blood flow and normalize blood pressure. This is why headstand yoga is great to be practiced by people who suffer from hypertension.
6. Maintain endocrine function:
The brain is the center of almost all glands in the body that produce many kinds of hormones. Practicing headstand yoga or shirshasana can significantly increase blood flow toward the brain and the nutrients as well as the oxygen will make the brain steady and it will control the endocrine or glands system better. It impacts positively on metabolism by maintaining healthy thyroid gland function.
7. Strengthens Arms and Shoulders:
By holding yourself up in the headstand, utilizing the forearms, shoulders, and back to keep the head and neck relaxed, you are able to lengthen the spine and relax the vocal muscles.
8. Improves body posture and flexibility
It improves your abnormal body posture and also increases muscle flexibility. This is the reason why yoga practitioners have great body posture and flexibility.
9. Improves vision:
It improves the overall functions of eyesight, sense of smell, and taste. The extra supply of blood during Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) helps to work the sensory organs perfectly. Regular yoga headstand exercise can help you to prevent some eye abnormalities such as cataract, myopia, and astigmatism.
10. Improves Digestion:
By performing an inversion, you allow the effects of gravity to be reversed on the digestive system that removes stuck material, releases trapped gases, and increases the blood flow to the digestive organs.
11. Cure Diabetes Naturally:
The headstand yoga pose shows a significant positive influence on relieving diabetes. The main cause of diabetes is the pituitary gland whose symptoms itself manifest in the malfunctioning of pancreas. The master gland secretes too much diabetogenic hormone that leads to type 2 diabetes. Modern medicine is not so effective in curing the condition but Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) acts directly on the pituitary gland by improving the blood supply thus help in combating diabetes.
12. Triggers Lymphatic System:
The lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of fluids from the tissues and waste products from the blood. When you flip onto your head, you stimulate the lymphatic system and assist in the removal of toxins from the body.
13. Cures piles and varicose vein:
The problems of varicose veins and piles caused by the accumulation of blood in the legs and anus respectively. Regular practice of Shirshasana relieves the pressure on the blood vessels since it breaks down the blood accumulation and moves it to other parts of the body. All the organs of the pelvis and abdomen are revitalized by Shirshasana.
14. Treat sexual disorders:
Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) helps in combating sexual disorders such as prostrate problems hydrocele, leucorrhea, spermatorrhea, and all general menopausal and menstrual ailments. The yoga pose drains blood from the associated sexual endocrine glands and organs, thus improves the functional efficiency.
15. Treat thyroid:
It acts directly on the thyroid gland by balancing the metabolic functions. Malfunctioning of the thyroid can result in many ailments either directly or indirectly. The headstand yoga pose helps to bring perfect health to this vital organ.
16. Relieve skin problem
Headstand yoga can maximize the blood transfer to the skin and it can enhance the removal of waste materials from the skin. Headstand yoga will also move the oxygen toward the skin to improve skin complexion, especially on the face area. The condition of the facial skin can also be improved through the regular practice of Shirshasana. Pimples and wrinkles are often caused by inadequate removal of waste materials and insufficient nourishment from the blood. Shirshasana directs an oxygen-rich flow of blood to the facial skin thereby improving the facial complexion.
17. Removes lethargy:
This asana is a tonic for those people who tire quickly. It ensures a proper supply of blood to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain. Our growth, health and vitality depend on the proper functioning of these two glands.
18. Relieves cough and cold
By practicing regular headstand yoga, you have trained your lung and it will become more powerful and increase its resistance in any climate and condition. Shirshasana yoga not only enhance lung function but it also can protect the respiratory system from several diseases like cough and flu which caused by microorganisms.
19. Prevent Anemia
Health Benefits of Yoga Headstand also be the best choice for preventing anemia. Shirshasana yoga has been proven by some studies that it can improve the haemoglobin content within the red blood cells. It promotes red blood cell production as well as preventing anaemia.
20. Increase stamina
Headstand yoga or Shirshasana is recommended for people who have low stamina and getting tired easily. This posture of yoga can increase blood circulation and muscle activities that may affect energy production and nutrients break down. It also affects the pineal and pituitary glands which play important role in energy metabolism and other body functions.
21. Strengthen the immune system
Healthy blood circulation will result in the immune system’s ability to protect the body from pathogens and infection. Headstand yoga posture can increase the blood flow and promotes the immune cells’ function to fight infection.
Precautions of Shirshasana (Headstand Pose)
Avoid practicing Headstand Pose if you suffer from any of this condition:
- Frequent Headaches, High Blood Pressure, Neck problem, Heart problems, Constipation, Weak Eye Blood Vessels, Kidney problems, and other conditions such as:
- Arteriosclerosis (thickening and hardening of the walls of arteries)
- Thrombosis (formation of the blood clot inside a blood vessel)
- Catarrh (excessive discharge or build-up of mucus in the nose or throat)
- Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the outermost layer of the white part of the eye)
- Migraine (a recurrent and long-term throbbing headache)
- Glaucoma (increased pressure inside the eyeball leading to a gradual loss of sight)