Sirsasana or Headstand is a pose with many health benefits! It relaxes blood flow to the lower extremities improving swelling and venous congestion, releases the adrenal glands and kidneys, allows the heart to relax in the pericardium, and increases blood flow to the head, neck, and face.
Inversions are not for everyone. Do not practice sirsasana if you have uncontrolled hypertension, headaches, neck pain or injury, glaucoma, a recent stroke or aneurysm in the brain.
If you are a beginner, practice near a wall; place the short end of your yoga mat against the wall. Make sure there is no furniture or other objects around you that you could potentially fall on.
How to Do It
1. Coming to your knees, make a triangle with your hands placing them flush with the wall.
Interlock your fingers together, palms open, and place your forearms down. Elbows should be the same distance as your shoulders. Keep this position with your arms no matter what.
2. Place the top of your head down on the yoga mat in between your hands.
Rock back and forth on the top of your head to get a feel for the position of your skull. Find the spot where the frontal and parietal sutures meet—it will feel flat and your neck will be in a neutral position.
3. Take some of the pressure off of your head and into your forearms, pulling your shoulders away from your ears.
Eventually you will be balancing on the top of your head, but most of the weight should be in the forearms, supported by your shoulders.
4. Slowly straighten the legs, coming onto the toes.
Maybe this is as far as you go. If you feel comfortable here, begin to walk your straight legs closer to your face until you feel your abs catch. Your hips will be over your shoulders.
5. Push more of the weight into your forearms and shoulders, and use your strong core to lift the toes away from the mat.
Bend your knees, bringing your heels to your seat. The knees will still be in towards the chest. Once you have successfully obtained balance here, begin to straighten at the hips, bringing your knees towards the sky. Then straighten the legs. Hold for 10-15 breaths.
To come out of the pose, bend the knees first, then bend at the hips, slowly coming down to the mat. Stay in Balasana or Child's Pose for 5 breaths before lifting the head.
Variations in Sirsasana
Try these variations to make it more challenging. Have fun with it!
- Bring the soles of your feet to touch, knees out to the sides.
- Bring your legs into a lotus position.
- Scissor your legs, bringing the toes of one foot to the floor, then the other.
- Extend your legs wide apart, then zip them up together.