Headstand, aka the king of asanas, is one of my favorite postures. This gratifying pose releases an immense amount of energetic freedom and a bounty of benefits. Headstand (Sirsasana) draws your attention inward, keeping your mind sharp and clear. Headstand is extremely helpful if you are stressed out, anxious, fearful or having other worrisome thoughts. Practice headstand with slow, deep breathing and you have a recipe for stress relief.
Headstand floods the area of the crown with energy, bringing peace and clarity to the mind. When you flip upside down, you are increasing the blood flow to your brain, which can boost mental function, and improve your ability to focus, Also, you will be sending extra oxygen and nutrient rich blood to your head. This can help to prevent and/or improve conditions in the eyes, ears, nose and scalp.
Let’s not forget how great inversions are at strengthening our core! Turning upside down, balancing, and holding the legs up requires a ton of core strength and focus. I have found no other physical activity quite as engaging as the practice of inversions – they require my complete attention and physical engagement. It’s no wonder then how beneficial headstand and other inversions are at helping us relieve stress and improve focus, because we have to remain present to practice them safely.
Energetically, the practice of headstand works primarily with the the third eye (ajna) and crown (Sahasrara) chakras. The sixth chakra is located between and just above the physical eyes. Just as headstand can help improve physical eye conditions, the posture can stimulate our third eye center. With consistent practice headstand may help us see more clearly beyond the physical world, improving our ability to visualize, and become more intuitive and clairvoyant. The seventh chakra is located at the crown of the head, right where we connect to the earth in headstand. Serving as the crown of the chakra system, Sahasrara, symbolizes the highest state of enlightenment. When we practice headstand we are awakening and facilitating our spiritual development.
Headstand may be just what you need today, so here’s how-to:
Of course, while you are learning headstand it is best to practice with a teacher until you find your bearing. A private lesson is a great idea to help you on your path. A focused workshop on inversions is also a great way to refine your practice! Headstand is a healing posture, but only when practiced properly and safely. If you have any neck or back issues, I would advise that you postpone headstand practice until you are recovered. It is also commonly advised not to go upside-down if you are on your moon cycle or pregnant.
Here is my progression for headstand/Sirsasana: (Click on photos for Details)
Once you have established the key actions of suspending your hips over your shoulders and ‘piking’ your knees into your chest it’s all about confidence. If you’ve taken your time with the previous steps, then not only have you been building your strength and body awareness, you’ve been developing confidence, too. Extend the base of your spine upward. Your feet will naturally elevate as you uncoil the tailbone. It’s quite exhilarating to feel your feet floating up!
Trust in yourself! YOU CAN DO IT!!!
Have fun, you may fall, and that’s part of being playful and courageous in the face of your fears.
There will always be a little sway, just like in a standing balancing pose. Stay engaged in your core, and exit slowly to continue building stamina. Knowing how to fall safely is smart; if you feel yourself going back too much and losing your composure, then tuck your chin and rollout. You will survive. Trust me.
It took me at least 3 or 4 months to develop the body awareness and confidence to go up and sustain the pose. Have patience with yourself, compassion for both physical and mental/emotional challenges that you face. Trust in the process, and enjoy the journey.