Head posture, headstand, Sirsasana, Salamba Sirsasana 1 or 2, head balance … You probably know this yoga posture by one of these names. On the other hand, you may not know how to achieve it. Don’t you want to hurt yourself doing this posture? Are you afraid of making mistakes in your alignments?
What is head balance?
The headstand (Sirsasana in Sanskrit) is one of the most famous postures in yoga, which is why it is called King of all asanas (the king of postures). Salamba Sirsasana is the basic posture, but there are several variations in the position of the legs or hands (like Sirsasana 2).
Head Balance is a yoga posture called upside down. An inversion is a position in which gravity is upset: the heart is found above the face. In other words, we have our head upside down. Usually all the weight of the body is on the feet, but in this case it is on the head and on the arms. Although it may seem dangerous or complicated, we will see later the many benefits that this posture of balance offers us.
The headstand is practiced in different types of yoga such as Hatha yoga , Ashtanga, Vinyasa, etc. It is advisable to practice it in the evening, when your body is less stiff, or at the end of your yoga session. The difference between the headstand and the handstand is simply having the weight resting on the head and not on the hands.
Note: this posture (asana) is not particularly suitable for beginners. However, headstand is fun, and it is important to take pleasure in your yoga sessions. This is why I would like to give today advice to all the people recently initiated to yoga who are a little curious… Better to try to do the headstand in good conditions and in full knowledge of the causes, rather than to take risks.
How to do the headstand?
Like any posture, you need to warm up before you start. For example, you can do several sun salutations and a little cladding . You can also bring a yoga mat and if necessary, a yoga towel. You can position yourself on your mat and place the towel under your head if the position is too uncomfortable. I recommend that you start facing a wall angle to eliminate all fears and apprehensions about tipping forward.
- Kneel facing the wall, at a distance of approximately 5 centimeters. Do not be too far away so that your back does not arch, nor too close to be able to climb into the posture.
- Place your forearms on the floor and make sure your elbows are shoulder-width apart. To do this, grab your elbows with opposite hands.
- Now you can put your hands together and cross your fingers, without moving your elbows. The palms of the hands are not touching. Only the outer edges of the hands touch the ground. You will maintain your hands in this way for the duration of the posture.
- Place the top of the head between the hands (not the forehead or the back of the head). You should feel the back of the skull with your fingers. Your weight will automatically swing forward and your butt will come off your legs. The weight will be distributed over the front of the arms, including the elbows and hands. Engage your shoulders, they are a precious help.
- Now lift your buttocks and straighten your legs. Slowly bring your feet closer to your head until your back is straight (or touches the wall). You are on tiptoe.
- As you exhale, using your abs or a very light swing from your legs, lift one foot off the ground, then the other.
- Seek balance in this posture before moving on to the next step.
- If you are comfortable in this position, raise your knees and extend your legs until you find the perfect alignment between your spine and your legs. Your body is perpendicular to the ground. The buttocks do not come out. To do this, perform a retroversion of the pelvis: in other words, contract the buttocks and return the pubis.
To exit the posture, breathe out and repeat the movements seen previously in the opposite direction. Descend vertebra after vertebra. After gaining experience, you will be able to enter and exit the pose with your legs straight.
You don’t necessarily need yoga accessories to perform the headstand . However, apart from the mat and towel, you can use the yoga bricks (also called yoga blocks) under the feet to help lift the pelvis.
This posture is held for several hours by experienced yogis. For you who are just starting out, just hold it between 1 minute and 5 minutes. However, if it is too hard, you can stay shorter. Remember that breathing must be constant to hold the posture more easily. You have to breathe normally. In this posture as in all yoga postures, you should not feel any discomfort.
What are the benefits and contraindications of Sirsasana?
It is not necessary to clarify that the position of the body in this asana is nothing usual. If we realize it is obviously that it is entertaining, but not only. Make the headstand has many physical and psychological benefits . Sirsasana allows to:
- develop a physical balance, a mental and moral balance;
- reduce stress and anxiety;
- Refuel energy ;
- being confident in one’s self ;
- gain strength in the arms, shoulders, abdominals and back muscles;
- fight against fatigue and sleep;
- strengthen the immune system;
- improve concentration thanks to the inversion which oxygenates the brain, etc.
On the other hand, this posture presents contraindications:
- during the period of the rules, because as the principles of Ayurveda want it, the inversions do not respect the direction of the evacuation of the blood flow;
- if you have thyroid or blood pressure problems;
- in the case of pain in the lumbar, cervical, shoulder, etc.