HEADSTAND or SHIRSHASANA
I remember the first time i was introduced to shirshasana (headstand), about 6 years ago, by my german friend Naomi, she was just coming back from 6months in an ashram, in India.
A day, while we were practicing yoga together, she showed and shared with me this position.
I thought she was one of these fairies, with some magic in her body! But that was not for me. Wasnt’it?
She taught me that we ALL have that magic in ourselves, called Balance and Strenght.
Since… i felt in love with this practice!
My turn to show you how Magic you are!!!
What is Headstand – Shirshasana?
Headstand-Shirshasana is a Hatha yoga asana (posture) where the practitioner stands / balances on the head with the support of the arms. It is an inverted position where the head is on the ground and the feet are up.
Sirsasana is an advanced inversion that exhibits strength, control and the beauty of overcoming the fear of falling through physical and mental balance. The name is derived from the Sanskrit sirsa, meaning “head,” and asana meaning “pose” or “posture.”
Headstand is very popular due to its numerous benefits.
Why should you go on Headstand-Shirshasana?
DO IT FOR:
Strengthening you upper body, means shoulders, arms, and you core muscles.
Clean and give a glow to your skin!
Stimulate the lynphatic system
Decrease fluid build up in your legs, ankles or feet
Improve balance and confidence -but stay humble!-
and because it’s Fun!
TO GO DEEPER AND UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON IN THIS INVERSE POSE:
In order to hold a straight headstand, a practitioner must engage the abdominal muscles — including the obliques, the rectus abdomini and the transverse abdominus. Poor form – -with bent legs or flexed hips, for instance – -could indicate weakness of the core. A strong core can position hips directly over the chin and extend the hip flexors such that the legs are vertical. The core is strengthened particularly if the practitioner lifts or lowers both legs at once to come into and out of the headstand
When the body is upside down, the pituitary gland, which plays a role in healthy digestion, is stimulated. The pituitary gland is a pea-shaped endocrine gland in the brain responsible for metabolism, turning food into usable energy. It also regulates hormone production and the process of water reabsorption in the kidneys. Headstands are recommended for irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive ailments, as they reorient the colon and intestines, encouraging bowel movement.
An upside-down orientation sends blood to the head, improving brain function. According to the editors at Yoga Journal, one of the benefits of a headstand is that it “calms the brain.” It also stimulates the pineal gland, which is located deep in the brain and is responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles and plays an important role in the body’s maturation process.
-NOURISH THE FACE
Many yoga teachers like to say that a headstand is the equivalent of a facial because it stimulates blood flow to the face. Increased circulation to the skin of the cheeks and forehead means oxygenation and sustained youth of the facial cells. Practitioners should take care not to remain in a headstand for too long; some people report a “bursting” feeling or broken blood vessels in the face. Ten breaths, or one to three minutes, is enough to reap a headstand’s benefits.
According to a Yoga Journal article entitled “Supported Headstand,” the posture “helps relieve stress and mild depression.” Because headstands stimulate the pituitary gland — which is responsible for releasing endorphins, the body’s “happy” hormones — they can be prescribed to alleviate the sadness and lethargy associated with depression. Headstands also reduce production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases blood flow to the brain, stimulating production of melatonin, dopamine and serotonin, all hormones that help regulate mood.
Change the way you look at things!…
Through the metaphore to inverse our usual posture, on our feet, Shirshasana teach us that there is always an other way to look at things.
From the second we were born, we grew up with a way of thinking.
Hold on a second! How do we know that we are right? How can we be sure of it?
Here is the first teaching: Opening our mind, giving space and taking time to look at, to understand and love.
Shirshasana teach that as well, that there is always something more, in every situations we have to face, there is always something more to understand, to learn.
It’s learning to look at life from our point of view, of course but that’s not it! From others’s point of view too. From the ones we love, and even from the ones we don’t!
Shirshasana teaches how to keep balance in every ways, in every situations.
How to keep calm, waiting and see! leading us to stop over-reacting and be patient and compassionate with ourselves and others.
This pose also brings confidence and joy, because it’s so much fun doing it, exactly like a child can be happy or enthousiastic for a very small reason.
This asana teach you a new way looking at your body, at your emotions, at your Life!
A happy, easier and confident way!
You are so much more than good enough… You are precious and amazing!
How to go on Headstand-Shirshasana?
When a headstand is performed correctly, the muscles of the shoulders and upper back support mainly the body, says chiropractor Eden Goldman.
You’re your own master, you are the one who knows and feels what it’s good for you but still, there are few advices!
Really better to practice with an empty stomach, so avoid eating 2hours before the practice!
Headstand is supposed to be practiced at the end of a class, it means after a proper warm up.
Always practice on your yoga mat or spongy surface, to protect your skull.
Here are the steps to follow to go into headstand:
- Sit on the knees and hold the elbows to measure the ideal distance. Then bring the arms to the ground right under the shoulders.
- Keeping the elbows there, bring the hands closer and interlock the fingers so that your arms form a triangle. Do not let your elbows open out.
- Place the head on the ground with the back of the head in the cupped hands.
- Curl your toes, straighten your knees, buttom to the sky.
- Start walking towards your shoulders.
- Bring your knee to your chest and then bring other knee towards the chest. This will make your spine straight.
- As you inhale raise your legs to the sky. if your core is not strong yet, give an impulse, means push on your feet to jumb and find your balance.
- Bring your focus on a steady point preferably at eye level. Take easy relaxed breaths and hold the posture as long as comfortable.
- Getting down is the same in reverse. Take your time! GIve your body the time it needs to balance again and stay in child pose, before standing!
Become the Best version of Yourself!