Yoga is an old method of mind and body practice. It is a set of physical, spiritual, and mental exercises or disciplines that originated from ancient India and it is now quite popular all over the world. It is one out of six schools of Indian philosophy.
There is a wide variety of yoga practices, schools as well as goals. The styles typically combine a variety of postures, techniques for breathing, as well as meditation and relaxation.
The goal of yoga is to bring about things such as discipline, peace, meditation, liberation, relief from stress, relaxation and physical fitness. This is achieved by controlling the body and mind. Yoga also helps one to be conscious of one’s environment and the beauty that surrounds it.
A key feature of yoga is its poses and postures. Although these were not part of the early traditions of yoga in ancient India, they are now central to its practice in the west. For many practitioners of yoga in modern times, fitness is a key part of the practice. Its poses have become quite popular for use as physical exercises. They help to promote better control of the body and mind and ultimately enhances a person’s well-being. You can read more on the practice here.
There are different types of yoga poses. Some common ones include:
- Easy pose (Sukhasana)
- The mountain pose (Tadasana)
- Tree pose (Vrikshasana)
- Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
- Bridge (bandha sarvangasana)
- Chair pose (Kursiasana)
- Child pose (Balasana)
- Boat pose (Naukasana).
There are several others too. One of the more technical poses but a highly beneficial one at that is the yoga headstand.
What is the Yoga Headstand?
The yoga headstand or Salamba Shirshasana (oftentimes called Shirshasana) is an inverted yoga pose where an individual balances their weight on their head, hands and elbow. It is quite popular in many yoga practices and it is useful for gaining awareness and balance.
When practicing the headstand, the body is upside down. It is held upright with support from the crown of the head and the elbows or forearms. It also has different variations as well as several transitional and preparatory poses.
Practicing yoga in itself comes with a lot of benefits. Each pose also brings about some unique benefits in addition to the general benefits associated with the practice. Some of these for the headstand include:
- It helps to calm the mind and bring about focus and alertness.
- It helps to alleviate depression and stress.
- It stimulates the lymphatic system.
- It activates the pineal and pituitary glands.
- It enhances the capacity of the lungs.
- It strengthens the spine core and upper body.
- It helps to improve a person’s balance and discipline.
- It strengthens the abdominal organs and also boosts digestion.
- It strengthens the shoulder and arms
- It decreases the buildup of fluid in the legs
Doing a Yoga Headstand
As previously mentioned, there is a variety of ways in which the headstand can be achieved. You can check out this article: How to handstand- Yoga Headstand. A good and safe method to use is one that evenly spreads your weight between the head and the hands.
- Ensure that you are comfortable before you begin and that you are on a solid surface. You can make use of a yoga mat or carpet and avoid doing it on very hard or very soft surfaces. It is important that you are relaxed when going into it.
- In doing a headstand, different preliminary poses lead up to it. These can include dolphin, the forearm plank, downward-facing dog, etc. The next step is to place your hands on the mat or floor while kneeling with the shoulders apart.
- Now place the top of the head on the mat. Ensure that you do not rest on your forehead or on the back of your head. You should rest centrally on your head. The goal is that your hands and head should form a triangle on the floor.
- When this is done, then you start straightening your legs in a way that your bum and hips are in the air.
- Lift your feet slightly toward your hands with more weight moving towards your hands and head. Let your hips and bum go backward and on top of your hands and head. At this point, depending on your ability you may need the help of a wall or a spotter which can be anyone available. Avoid relying on this as you grow more into doing the pose.
- If you can by yourself, you may bend your knees and do a small jump to help lift your hips over your base (Your head and hands). Alternatively, you can push into your hands while you lift your legs from the floor.
- Finally, adjust your weight so that it spreads evenly and controls your balance.
Getting Out of the Headstand
Coming out of the pose is just as important as getting into it. You have to be as careful. Slowly lower your feet and bend the knees so that your ankles are towards your hips and then to your chest. It is important that you hold this position for a few seconds and don’t rush. Now lower your feet gently to the floor.
It is advised not to do this pose if you are prone to high blood pressure, glaucoma, palpitations of the heart and hiatal hernia. Also for menstruating women, they should avoid doing it while on their period. Additionally, you have to be certain and careful when doing this pose as it is one of the poses that is often associated with injuries. Some important things that you should put into consideration include:
- You should ensure you have enough space
- Keep your weight evenly distributed as much as possible.
- Ensure that your neck is stable and solid. Avoid relaxing on your neck and head as much as possible.
- Know how to fall out of the pose safely
- Ensure that whatever you do while on the pose is safe and comfortable for you.
You can learn more about headstands here https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-do-a-headstand-3567150.
Yoga helps to keep the mind and body engaged, relaxed and free of stress. Headstands provide a valuable addition to this with its many benefits. Ensure to be careful and follow precautions when doing it to avoid injury. You should gradually work your way to it by starting with some preliminary poses. Ask for help when you need it until you can perfect the pose.