We are working in our Yoga classes on Headstand Postures / Sirshasana (sanskrit name). They are incredible as you stay in an inverted pose, build up lots of muscle strength and help you concentrate and clear your mind.
There are many nice variations for Headstand Postures, for example the “Supported Headstand Posture / Salamba Sirshasana”. You place your hands in front of your head forming a triangle, so the arms can support your Headstand. How does it work?
Sit in Thunderbold / Vajrasana with your hands in Namaste in front of your chest. Take 3 deep breathes to relax your body and mind. When you feel ready to start, bend forward, place both hands and the crown of the head on your mat. Make sure that your forearm and upper arm are at about 90° and both hands are in line. Both hands and the head should form a triangle. Arrange your head, your arms and hands until you feel comfortable. Relax your shoulders (push shoulders away from your ears).
Supported Headstand Posture / Salamba Sirshasana Video:
Now lift up your knees and your hips and straighten your legs, have your feet together, and your toes tucked in. Again make sure your hands, neck and head are comfortable. Always listen to your body. If everything feels fine, you can start walking your feet towards your face, lifting up your back until it almost becomes straight towards the ceiling. Your legs are now close to your chest. Roll up your spinal cord a bit more and stand on your tiptoes. You can rest here, and breath for 3 -5 deep breathes until you finish in childs pose. Otherwise:
Try lifting one foot, leg bent, then lift your other foot, and hold both feet together in that position, legs still bent. Stay here for 3 -5 complete breathes to get acustomed to the Inverted Pose and, with training, build up muscle strength in your abdomen and arms before you go further. You should be able to hold this position for a minute or longer.
Next, start raising your thighs slowly and carefully, balancing your body weight, until they are almost in line with the spinal cord. Then lift your lower legs up and bring them in line as well. Now you are in the Supported Headstand Position. Make sure your head and neck are fine, keep on balancing the weight and stay up as long as it is comfortable. Breath normally and try to relax.
When you wish to finish, bend your legs slowly and lower them in a controlled way to the floor, the same way as you came up. When your feet touch the ground again, keep your head on the ground and just sit in childs pose for a while before you raise your head again. Take your time.
If you are practising by yourself it might be helpful to be near a wall. You can place your head about 10 to 20cm away from the wall, so that in case you loose balance the wall will hold you or you can ask someone to assist you.
Beginners should always start slowly while listening to their body, starting one step after the other. If it is too hard for your head, double the mat, and make sure both hands are completely flat on the mat or floor.
Benefits of headstand: This posture is very energizing, and helps to keep your body healthy, balances the repiratory, digestive and circulatory systems, and relieves stress. It tones and strenghtens yours arms, abdomen and legs. It is said to be the greatest of all Asanas, as it has many benefits when practised regularly.
Sirshasana in general should not be practised if you have neck problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammations or problems with the eyes, ears, digestive or respiratory system. Do not practise when you do not feel well. Do not force yourself into a pose you can not do. Yoga is about practising, being in that very moment, knowing your mental and physical strength and improving step by step.
The green and underlined postures can be clicked on to find more information about that particular pose. If you would like to have more information also about HATHA YOGA in general, please visit my Webpage by clicking on this link: www.abouthathayoga.com
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