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Salamba Sirsasana – Supported Headstand – For Beginners.

September 1, 2011

Salamba Sirsasana – Supported Headstand – For Beginners.

  • Fold a yoga mat into four
  • Place one side of the folded mat against a wall
  • Come down onto your forearms and knees with the forearms on the folded mat
  • The hands should be approximately one hand distance away from the wall
  • Check that the elbows are directly under the shoulders and that the forearms and hands are shoulder distance apart
  • (Additional check of forearm distance: make a fist with the right hand and bend the right forearm in so that the fist fits snugly against the left elbow then release the right forearm back, and vise versa – the forearms should now be correctly aligned with the shoulders)
  • Keep the forearms in that position at all times
  • Interlace the fingers together and interlock the fingers tightly
  • The outer edges of the hands on the little finger side should rest firmly on the mat so that the palms are slightly cupped
  • Move the crown and only the crown of the head to rest on the mat with the back of the head resting inside the cupped palms
  • Curl the toes of the feet under and slowly lift the knees off the ground and walk the toes closer to the head
  • Take a breath in
  • On the exhalation, gently push the feet off the ground, swinging from the hip joints lifting the bent legs upwards
  • Gently and consciously push the shoulders away from the ears so that the neck is elongated avoiding any compression in the neck area
  • As a beginner, stay in this position with bent legs for as long as is comfortable and until one feels confident enough to straighten the legs – this may occur naturally or after having practiced this version for as many times as is necessary
  • Once confidence is gained and the beginner is ready to proceed further, then from the bent leg position, the practitioner can slowly straighten the legs up to the ceiling

  • The heels of the feet can rest against the wall
  • Thighs rotate inwards and the tailbone is tucked down, as in Tadasana
  • The whole body should be perpendicular to the floor
  • Stay in the asana for 5 – 8 breaths as a beginner, gradually increasing the length of breaths as confidence, strength and practice improves
  • To release from the headstand, as a beginner, bend the legs as done to enter into the posture and bring the feet to the floor

Counterpose /  Pratikryasana:
Balasana

Cautions and Modifications:
Do not practice if prone to have high blood pressure
Avoid any inversion if suffering from or recovering from any eye infection or condition
Avoid the inversion if there is a history of heart problems or if suffered from a stroke in the past
Avoid any inversion if suffering from or recovering from a chest infection
Do not do any variation of headstand if there is any neck injury or ailment

A beginner can gain confidence and comfort before practicing Sirsasana against a wall by practicing  the following asanas regularly:

  • Prasarita Padottanasana – Extended Leg Standing Pose – with the crown of the head resting on a block or several or on the floor if flexibility permits
  • Sasamgasana – The Hare
  • Bakasana – The Little Bird
  • Advadanta Sirsasana – The Dolphin
Benefits:
  • Sirsasana is known has the King of Yoga Asanas and the benefits are numerous
  • Stretches and tones the spine
  • Alleviates back ache
  • Alleviates headaches and congestion in the sinuses due to cold, flues or sinusitis
  • Calms and soothes the entire nervous system
  • Relives stress, anxiety and depression
  • Is re-energizing to the mind due to re-oxygenated circulation of blood to the brain
  • This inversion provides a fresh blood supply and thereby activates the pineal and pituitary glands, said to control all other glands of the physical body
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Alleviates insomnia
  • Relieves gastric problems such as constipation and strengthens the physiology of the abdominal organs as it tones and activates the internal organs
  • Sirsasana is a “heating” posture and warms the entire body

Chakra Association:
Sahasrara.

Wishing you health and inspiration for your Yoga practice.

“Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
– Jung –

Om Shanti

Juanita.
____________________________________________
Juanita Caprari is a certified Yoga teacher and Public Relations Practitioner. She started her Yoga practice in 2002. She has completed two Yoga Teacher Training Courses, the last one through Ananda Kutir Ashram and has been teaching Yoga since January 2007. jcaprari@mweb.co.za or visit the website www.yogamala.co.za.

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