Shirsha Asana is the head stand pose in yoga. Shirsha means “head” and “asana” means pose. The standing on the head pose, Sirshasana is known as the king of all yogic poses and is done at the end of all yogic asanas. Standing on the head pose inverts the gravity pressure towards the head instead of feet, increasing the flow of blood to the brain and neck region. This helps in solving many health conditions.
The asana is a bit challenging and requires focus and concentration. Hence it should be learnt under the guidance of a seasoned yoga practitioner. The initial phase requires balancing the body and help from an experienced person is required. The asana is practiced in advanced level training and should be learnt slowly avoiding injury as the whole weight is on the arms and shoulder muscles. The final pose is using the hands and head to balance the body in an inverted vertical position. Sirshasana cannot be done in the very first attempt. It requires many sessions of practice to perfect the technique. The key to learning is to remove fear and be cautious while doing it. Consulting the family doctor before venturing in this pose is a good choice. Initially, you can start by leaning against the wall and later move to complete balance.
The steps for doing Sirshasana:
Step 1: Sit in the kneeling pose of Vajrasana. The back should be straight and the knee folded. The feet should touch the buttocks.
Step 2: Now bend forward placing the hands on the floor with fingers clasped. Rest the elbow and hand on the floor making a shape of a triangle.
Step 3: Place the top of the head on the intertwined fingers very slowly. Hold the head firmly in place by the hands and fingers.
Step 4: Move forward lifting the buttocks and making the thigh parallel to the ground. Use the toes to stretch as far as you can. Try to straighten the spine in the position itself.
Step 5: Move the knees towards the abdomen. Taking the pressure on the hand try and lift the legs and upper body a few centimeters above the ground. While trying this engage the core muscles and co ordinate your breathing for a better control. Once this position is perfected then only you should move to the next step.
Step 6: Lift the upper body further and the trunk perpendicular to the floor. Support the entire weight of the body on the triangle formed by the hands. The thighs and legs should be off the ground but not vertical.
Step 7: Lift the legs slowly from front of the body to the back. Try and touch the buttocks while maintaining balance on the head and hands. Now you are ready for the final step.
Step 8: Now lift your legs up and align with the rest of the body. The body should be completely straight in the inverted position. The body weight is now entirely on the hand and head. You will experience increased blood flow in the brain. The eyes may turn red due to this but it is perfectly normal.
Step 9: Hold the position as long as you can while breathing normally. Keep the focus on the head and the breath.
Step 10: While releasing the pose reverse the action done to get to the pose. First take the legs back and then forward. Then lower the trunk to get in the step 2 positions and then get back on legs. Shavasana the corpse poses should be done for 5 minutes after this pose to get back to normalcy.
Benefits of the Head Stand (Sirshasana)
- Helps to purify stagnated blood in the lower limbs by reversing the flow back to the heart.
- Helps in increasing blood flow to head which is required for neural health.
- Tones the master gland pituitary helping to regulate the endocrine system. This can help the reproductive system to function better.
- Headache relief is one of the main benefits of this asana.
- Great pose for improving eyesight as it increases the flow of purified blood to eyes and retina.
- Relieves pressure from abdominal organs giving them much needed rest from gravity.
- A pose that helps relieve piles and problems of hydrocele.
- The pose helps to exercise some internal muscles which are great for internal organ health.
- Helps to regulate breathing and very useful for lung health. A recommended pose for asthmatic cases.
- Helps to sublimate sexual energy into a higher form of energy known as Ojas.
- Rejuvenates and increases the vitality of the whole body.
Note: – This pratice needs to be learnt by the competent yoga teachers. People suffering from spondylitis or slip disc or any other ailment of the spine should avoid the pose. Since the whole weight is borne by the neck and shoulder muscles, this can cause pain and injury to such patients. People with high blood pressure and heart issues should also avoid the pose. Pregnant women should not practice such inversions. Vertigo patients should always have a partner while doing the asana.