Sirsasana (Head Stand)
This asana is also known as the head stand. And can be performed as follows;
- Kneel on the floor and place your fingers together and set the forearms on the floor, elbows at shoulder width. Roll the upper arms slightly outward, but press the inner wrists firmly into the floor. Set the crown of your head on the floor. Hands can also be clasped together. Use a folded blanket to pad your head and forearms.
- Inhale and lift your knees off the floor. Carefully move your feet closer to your elbows, keeping the heels elevated. Actively lift through the top thighs, forming an inverted "V." Firm the shoulder blades against your back and lift them towards the tailbone so the front torso stays straight as long as possible.
- This should help prevent the weight of the shoulders collapsing onto your neck and head.
- Exhale and lift your feet away from the floor. Take both feet up at the same time, even if it means bending your knees and hopping lightly off the floor.
- As the legs (or thighs, if your knees are bent) rise to perpendicular to the floor, firm your tailbone against the back of the pelvis. Turn the upper thighs in slightly, and actively press the heels towards the ceiling. The center of the arches should align over the center of the pelvis, which in turn should align over the crown of the head.
- Now firming the outer arms inwardly, and softening the fingers. Continue to press the shoulder blades against the back, widen them, and draw them towards the tailbone. Keep the weight evenly balanced on the two forearms. It's also essential that your tailbone continues to lift upwards towards the heels. Once the back of the legs are fully lengthened through the heels, maintain that length and press up through the balls of the big toes so the inner legs are slightly longer than the outer.
- Hold this pose for 10 seconds. And then you can go on gradually increasing the duration.
- Come down with an exhalation, without losing the lift of the shoulder blades, with both feet touching the floor at the same time.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Improves digestion.
- Calms the brain and helps to relieve stress and mild depression.
- Stimulates the pituitary and pineal gland.
- Stegthens the legs, arms and the spine.
- Exrcises the lungs and increases its oxygen carrying capacity.
- Tones up the abdominal organs.
- Helps to relieve symptoms of menopause.
- Has therapeutic value in asthma, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis.
- Increases the blood circulation in the brain and thus enhances memory.
The precautionary measures that are to be followed in this asana are:
- Should not be practiced in case of head, or back injury.
- Should not be practiced in case of cardiac disorders.
- Should not be practiced if suffering from high blood pressure.
- Do not practice in pregnancy.
- Never raise your legs with a jerk.
- When returning never raise your head too soon.
- Those suffering from chronic cough and cold should not practice this asana.
- Individuals suffering from constipation should practice this asana with care.