Exercise-104: Sirshasana (the headstand pose)
- Sit in vajrasana.
- Bend forward and place the forearms on the ground with fingers inter-twined and the elbows in front of the knees.
- Place the crown of the head between the inter-twined hands (stage 1).
- Be sure it is tightly wedged in, so that it cannot roll backward when pressure is applied.
- Lift the knees off the ground and raise the hips until the legs are straight (stage 2).
- Slowly fold the legs toward the trunk and allow the knees to bend so that the back is upright and the thighs press against the abdomen and lower chest.
- Slowly transfer the bodyweight from the toes onto the head and arms, and raise one foot a few inches off the ground.
- Raise the other foot and balance on the head and arms (stage 3).
- When balanced, raise and straighten the hips so that the thighs move up and away from the torso (stages 4 and 5).
- Straighten the legs.
- The body should be perfectly straight in the final pose. It is helpful if
- someone checks the position and tells you if this is so.
- Hold this pose for some time, then slowly refold the legs and lower the toes gently to the ground.
- Retain the breath inside when assuming and returning from sirshasana.
- Breathe normally in the final pose.
- The breath should become increasingly subtle in this posture as one becomes accustomed to it.
- Sirshasana can be practised by experts for periods of up to 30 minutes.
- Beginners should start with 30 seconds and add 1 minute a week until the desired period is reached.
- For general health benefits 3 to 5 minutes in the final pose is sufficient.
On the brain, respiration or balance.
- Beginners should practice sirshasana at the end of a series followed only by tadasana, its counter pose, and then shavasana.
- Advanced practitioners can practice it either at the beginning or the end of a series.
Instructions listed in the introduction to inverted poses must be strictly followed.
- Sirshasana should not be practiced by persons with high blood pressure, vertigo, heart palpitations, thrombosis, chronic catarrh, chronic constipation, any condition of impure blood or severe near sightedness.
- It should not be attempted until one has perfected the preliminary head-based poses.
- Sirshasana increases the blood flow to the brain and pituitary (master control gland) which helps to rectify many forms of nervous and glandular disorders, especially those related to the reproductive system.
- It reverses the upward return flow of blood in the leg and visceral regions, which aids tissue rebuilding.
- It removes psychological disturbances, and relieves headaches, asthma, hay fever, lack of energy, etc.
- It is the greatest of all asanas as it totally revitalizes the mind and body.