Sirsha – Head. Headstand is also known as the “King of asanas”.
Technique of Sirsasana :
Step 1 : Fold & prepare the mat well ensuring sufficient support for the head. Sit on the knees & measure the distance between the elbows (forearm distance or closer). Interlock fingers well tucking the little finger in. Pressurize the wrists. Lift the shouldres creating a space between the shoulders and neck, the neck should be free. Press down the elbows, forearms and wrists, forming a “triangle”. Hold for 15 – 30 seconds.
Step 2 : Tuck the toes under, raise up on the knees & place the crown of the head onto the floor in between the palms. Wrist should grip the sides of the head. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Step 3 : Lifting the knees & straightening the legs, take the trunk forwards. The back should be kept as straight as possible. Work on lifting the trunk upwards & taking the body weight onto the arms by gradually moving the toes forwards. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds.
Step 4 : Lift the legs from the floor one by one by bending the knees. Strongly contract the abdomen muscle & keep the knees as close to the trunk as possible. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Step 5 : Work on straightening one leg at a time, keeping the other knee tucked tightly into the abdomen. Keep pressing the arms, wrists & elbows down, while keeping the shoulders lifted. 80% of the weight should be on the arms at first, decrease this slowly as you gain more strength & confidence in the pose. Once y oar comfortable with raising & holding one leg up at a time you can raise the bent knee so that both the legs are up together at the same time. Hold for 30 to 180 seconds.
To come down, bend the knees & come down with control, step by step. St wit the head down for a while n Shashankasana, & then sit in Vajrasana with eyes closed. Don’t be in a hurry to get up. Always practice Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) as a counter-pose after Sirshasana to combat increased capacity for anger.
Note for teachers : While supporting the students to get into sirshasana, always help from behind their back.
Common mistakes :
- Wrists collapsed or raised – wrists must be pressed down, with the weight on forearms & wrists.
- Turning the neck – damages cervical vertebrae.
- Shoulders collapsed – lift the spine & shoulders up.
- Body not straight up – squeeze the buttocks & pull the abdomen in.
- Neck complaints – ensure the weight is on the upper arms & wrists, don’t collapse shoulders in order to protect the neck.
- Strain o he crown of the head – double the thickness of your mat.
- Elbows are too wide – should be at forearm distance & not move.
Limitations for Sirsasana:
- Heart disease – avoid or be very careful.
- Neck problems – Teach preparatory asanas for a good while & then slowly introduce sirshasana.
- Frozen shoulder.
- Menstruation or pregnancy.
- Weak eye sight – glaucoma.
- Toxic blood.
- Utitis (ear infection).
Benefits of Sirsasana:
- Good for memory.
- Improves head & heart condition.
- Gives relief to the cardiovascular system.
- Good for respiratory problems.
- Improves circulation to the glands.
- Reduces stress.
- Relieves migraine & tension headaches.
- Good for constipation.
- Strengthens the spine.
- Gives energy.