The yoga headstand which is often referred to as Sirsasana or Salamba Sirsasana is an inverted yoga pose, practiced in modern yoga. It is an advanced yoga pose which needs a lot of effort to master. Since, this asana has a lot of benefits, there are specialized yoga accessories like the yoga headstand bench to help beginners and intermediate level practitioners in mastering this pose.
Supported headstand pose steps, benefits and precautions
Salamba sirsana meaning
The name Salamba Sirsasana is composed of three Sanskrit words.
- Salamba’ meaning with support
- Sirsa’ meaning head
- ‘Asana’ meaning pose
How to do the Supported headstand pose?
Here is a step by step guide for the supported headstand pose or salamba sirsana.
Since this is a yoga pose with an advanced level of difficulty, some users need help with yoga accessories to practice this pose.
To get into the right position to practice yoga headstand, place a yoga blanket on the floor that can be used as a cushion for your head during the pose.
Interlock fingers of your hands and kneel down on your knees on the floor/yoga mat. Place your forearms on the floor while you keep your elbows at a distance of shoulder width.
In this step, your palms will be interlocked with the forearms completely in contact with the floor.
Bend down and place the crown (highermost part) of your head on the yoga blanket. Place the crown of your head against the interlocked palms.
Now take a deep breath and raise your knees from the ground. Try and walk on your toes forward, with your head placed firmly on the blanket. In the final position, your body will be in an inverted ‘V’ shape.
It is very important to ensure in this step that your shoulders are not sagging since doing that will put all the weight of your body on your neck and heads which is not advisable. For me, this was the most difficult part while trying to master Sirsasana.
With the weight of your body firmly on your shoulder, try and lift your feet from the floor. It is critical that you lift both your legs together from the floor. In the final position, both your legs will be at a 90 degree angle to the floor with your complete body aligned in a straight line.
Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds and keep breathing normally. All the weight of your body has to be balanced on your forearms and shoulders. For people who have mastered the headstand, staying in the pose can be extended from 3 to 5 minutes as well.
To release the pose, bring both your legs down gently till you reach the position in step 3.
Benefits of supported headstand pose
- The yoga supported headstand pose helps in stimulating your endocrine glands like the pituitary and pineal glands.
- It helps in toning up your abdominal muscles and organs.
- For people suffering from chronic anxiety, Salamba sirsasana helps in overcoming it. It also helps in calming your mind and provides long term relief from stress.
- With regular practices of this yoga pose, there is an overall improvement in the performance of your digestive system.
- Since your heart is above your head in this pose, it promotes better blood circulation to your brain.
- The supported headstand pose improves your overall stamina and provides relief from issues like Asthma and Insomnia.
- For people suffering from varicose veins, this yoga pose is very useful.
- It also strengthens your lungs, legs, hands and spine.
Precautions and contraindications
- Salamba sirsasana should not be practiced by anyone suffering from a back or a neck injury.
- If you suffer from cardiac issues, this yoga pose can put undue pressure on your heart. So you should avoid practicing without professional guidance.
- For some struggling with blood pressure issues (High/low), it is best to avoid this asana.
- The yoga headstand should not be practiced by pregnant women. Experienced practitioners can still practice it a few months into pregnancy but that should be done only with professional instructions.
- This asana is not advisable for people suffering from headache or insomnia.