Previously we told you a little about inverted asanas. Today we would like to stop at what is, perhaps, one of the most emblematic asanas: Salamba Sirsasana I, the famous “headstand.”
Etymologically, salamba means “with support, support” and sirsa “head,” so we are talking about a supported headstand. This is a detail to consider since, during Sirsasana, most of the body’s weight will fall on the forearms, not on the head.
Being an inversion posture stimulates the flow of blood and prana towards the head. Facilitating the opening of the Sahasrara chakra, the center of wisdom and spirituality. In addition, it generates a direct connection of the head with the earth. It helps us release tension, relieves the stress generated day by day and revitalizes our vital energy.
Salamba Sirsasana and balance
So, the constant practice of Sirsasana helps to achieve serenity and stability, both mental and physical. The balance plays a key role in investments and is achieved by control and concentration. In the case of Sirasana, we can say that it requires great control and alignment of the hips, abdominal muscles, legs, and the whole body in general. All parts of the body are activated and work together to achieve stability in this asana.
Such are the global benefits provided by the “queen of asanas.” If you cannot perform a complete practice, just a few minutes of Sirasana is enough to feel revitalized and improve your quality of life.
Sirsasana step by Step
If you are just starting to perform inverted postures, as a first step, we recommend aligning the edge of your mat with a wall so that you can use it as support. You can also fold your mat or place a blanket (that is not slippery) over it to cushion the supports a bit.
- Kneel on the floor (facing the wall, in case you are going to use it).
- Support your forearms and bring your hands together, interlocking your fingers. Your elbows should be the same distance between your shoulders.
- Your arms form a triangle-shaped base. Make sure it is fully supported on the mat.
- Support the crown of your head, using your hands for containment. The arms should support more weight than the head.
- With an inhale, lift your knees off the ground and walk to bring your feet closer to your body, forming an inverted “V.” It is important to elongate the torso well so that the weight does not collapse on the shoulders and neck.
- With an exhale, raise your legs. You can bring them closer to your torso by flexing them, one by one or both at a time, which may require a little “jump.” Then reaffirm the support of your arms and abdominal muscles, and stretch from the sacrum. From this place, seek to stretch your legs as if you wanted to press the ceiling with your heels.
- If you already have more experience, you can raise your legs straight out without raising them flexibly. Seeks to align the hips with the shoulders and the ankles with the hips.
Once you have achieved this position, you can hold it for a couple of breaths. Always controlling to keep the expression of your face soft and neutral and the neck without any pressure.
To come out of the pose, bend your knees, bringing your heels to your glutes, and lower your feet to the floor in a slow, controlled manner.
Tips for beginners
Sirsasana is not an easy pose and requires a certain degree of preparation and strength. Here are some recommendations to start practicing it.
In the beginning, we recommend practicing Ardha Sirsasana (half headstand) to ensure. You have enough strength to perform Sirsasana. This pose is similar to the dolphin but using the arm support described in the step-by-step guide. It begins without supporting the head; gradually, you will be able to add weight.
As we already mentioned, it is advisable to start practicing using a wall as extra support. It is ideal to use the corner of a room so that at the same time, it serves as a guide for the hips.
It is advisable to start doing this pose with the supervision of an instructor who can make sure you do it correctly. In this way, the risk of injuring the neck is minimized.
There are many variants of Sirsasana. Most consist of variations of the position of the legs. Bring the soles of your feet together, knees out. Adopt the Garudasana Leg Position (Eagle Pose). Legs in Lotus position. Another variant is Ardha Sirsasana, mentioned earlier as preparation for beginners.