Posture Clinic: Sirsasana

Sirsasana – Headstand

Sirsasana is an inversion that is often referred to as the king of yoga postures.  It builds strength in the upper body and core, can be energizing and literally turns your world upside down! Keep in mind that headstand is an advanced asana and having a regular yoga practice is crucial.  Being familiar with foundational asanas such as tadasana(mountain) and adho mukha svanasana(down dog) will be helpful to confidently explore this inversion.

Follow these steps to go into headstand:

  1. Start in a kneeling position, bring your forearms on your mat with elbows aligned under shoulders and interlace your fingers.
  2. Place the crown of your head lightly on your mat and cradle the back of your head with your hands.  Firmly press your forearms into the floor to lift your shoulders away from your head to create space in your neck.
  3. Draw your navel toward your spine as you tuck your toes under to lift your knees off the mat, lifting hips up toward the sky.  Try to walk your feet in closer to your elbows which will encourage your hips to stack over your shoulders, allowing your torso to become more perpendicular to your mat.  Keep breathing and be sure your upper body doesn’t collapse
  4. If you’re ready to move on, take an inhale, and as you exhale use your core to lift your feet off your mat, bringing knees toward chest.  Continue breathing as you slowly extend your legs straight up, reaching the balls of your feet and toes to the sky. Keep drawing your navel in and lengthening your tailbone to use your core for stability.  Stay for up to 3 minutes. When you’re ready to release sirsasana, reverse the process by using your core strength and breath to mindfully bend your knees to your chest, then lowering your feet to the ground.  Take a few breaths in child’s pose to rest before slowly lifting your torso upright.

*Feel free to start at the wall to build confidence while safely going upside down.  If you experience any discomfort or compression in your neck and/or pressure in eyes, ears, or head come out of the posture sooner.

Cautions:

  • Back or neck injury
  • Headache
  • Heart condition, high or low blood pressure
  • Pregnancy

Benefits

  • Calms the brain and can help relieve stress and mild depression
  • Strengthens arms, legs and spine
  • Tones abdominal organs
  • Stimulates pituitary and pineal glands