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Headstand Pose

Sirsasana

Benefits

Often referred to as the “mother” or “father” of yoga poses, Sirasana is a challenging pose with many benefits: 

  • Builds strength in the shoulders, neck and core
  • Slows and reverses signs of aging
  • Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands
  • Improves digestion
  • Calms the mind and relieves stress and mild depression
  • Relieves some symptoms of asthma, menopause, infertility, insomnia and sinusitis
  • Reverses the effects of gravity on the lungs, diaphragm and skin
  • Pose

  • Cautions

  • Modifications

  • Chronic or recent neck or shoulder injuries
  • High blood pressure, heart disease or stroke
  • This is an advanced posture 
  • If you are new to Headstand, try doing this pose against a wall, with your hands just a few inches from the wall.
  • Place a blanket under your head for extra support and cushion.
  • Images
  • Step-by-step

Sirasana (shear-SHAHS-anna)
Sirsa = head 
For Headstand A (Supported Headstand):

  1. Start kneeling on all fours. Place your forearms down on the ground with your elbows shoulder width distance apart. Interlace your fingers with your bottom pinky finger tucked in so you make a flat base with your hands and forearms.
  2. Place the top of your head down on the mat inside of your hands so just the back of your head touches your hands. Draw your chin towards your chest slightly to remove any stress in the back of your neck. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips until you come to an upside down “V” shape with your body.
  3. Walk your feet in towards your hands, until you reach a full stretch in your hamstrings. Stay in this position until your hips are fully over your shoulders.
  4. Once your hips are over your shoulders, strongly engage your core muscles, bend your knees and allow your feet to leave the mat. If this is not happening easily for you, stay at Step 3 to build strength and prepare for the pose.
  5. Once your toes are extended towards the ceiling, push through the balls of your feet to tone the legs. Engage your core muscles and lengthen your lower back by extending your tailbone towards your heels. Push your head and arms firmly in the mat to alleviate stress on your neck.
  6. Soften the head, jaw, eyes, neck and forehead. Keep a steady breath and relax.
  7. Hold headstand for 1-10 minutes. To get out of the pose, lower your toes back down to the ground and take Child’s Pose.

For Headstand B (Tripod Headstand):

  1. Start kneeling on all fours. Place your hands underneath your shoulders and bend your elbows, drawing your shoulders slightly forward to create a 90 degree angle forms between your upper and lower arms. Place the crown of your head on the ground in front of your hands. The points where your head meets the ground, and your hands meet the ground should form the shape of an equilateral triangle.
  2. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips, forming the shape of an upside down ‘V”. Walk your feet towards your hands until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings
  3. Stay here, or one at a time, place each knee on the shelf formed with your triceps. Balance here, or use your core strength to lift your knees and stretch your feet towards the sky.
  4. See steps 5 through 7 above.
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