Swami Sivananda, calls headstand “a panacea, a cure-all for all diseases.”
Irrespective of whether you are an athlete, a runner, a golfer, a cyclist, an office goer, a chess player or a housewife, Sirshasana should have a dominant presence in your life. It is a dream posture for many and beyond imagination for others. Contrary to popular belief, Sirshasan is just an intermediate advanced posture and can be mastered easily if attempted sequentially.
You would be surprised to learn that Sirshasana, the so called “King of Asanas” is actually not mentioned in any of the traditional yoga texts, but is one of the most popular practices around the world. No doubt, the posture has the magnetic attraction of determination and fearlessness but, at the same time, its innumerable benefits are uncountable. Let me take you through some of its obvious benefits and that should convince you to make Sirshasan an integral part of your wellness regime.
Habitual Pattern and Blood Stagnation at the Lower Part of Your Body
There is no denying the fact that modern conveniences have introduced us to a sedentary lifestyle. Even if you exercise thrice a week, you, actually, are active only for “3 hours” in the “168 hours” of a week. This passiveness leads to blood stagnation especially in the lower part of the body, thereby, causing varicose veins, hemorrhoids or general sluggishness in the working of one’s internal organs. Turning upside down encourages circulation in the veins.
According to Pat Layton, Physiology teacher for the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco’s Advanced Studies Program, “People have to do aerobics because they don’t invert. You have to run really hard – get the heart pumping hard – to circulate blood down to the feet and up the back. Not that you shouldn’t do aerobics but inversions are a healthier way to get the benefits (to the circulatory system), particularly as you get older.”
Oxygenating your lungs
In the process of growing up, one, without awareness, falls prey to “Shallow Breathing”. Also, Earth’s gravitational pull does keep the lower lobes of the lung sufficiently copious with oxygenated blood but fails to do so when it comes to the upper lobe. According to Yoga Anatomy,
“X-rays taken during the practice of sirshasana have shown a considerable shift of the diaphragm, changes in the longitudinal and transverse dimensions of the heart, and widening of the arteries and veins leading to and from the lungs, especially in the upper lobes. The significance is that more blood is travelling to and from the lungs, increasing oxygenation. The upper lobe which usually is not well oxygenated by a normal breath is washed free of stagnant blood.”
Reverse Blood Flow rejuvenates the Brain
- Indisputably, inversion brings increased blood flow to brain cells thereby rejuvenating and nourishing each brain cell, encouraging extreme efficiency.
- The slight pressure caused due to reverse blood flow expands blood vessels (as it is elastic in nature) thereby furthering efficiency and removing the accumulated toxins from your blood.
- Regular practice increases memory, improves concentration and brings clarity in thoughts and mind.
A Beautiful You
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder but enhancing your inherent beauty can become a reality with Sirshasana.
- Reverse blood flow massages your scalp, thereby, not only improves the texture of your hair but also its health. In fact, some of the yoga texts go on to claim, that with disciplined practice of inversion, not only will you not get grey hair but also will turn your grey hair back into black (If it is in its early stages of greying).
- Sirshasan gives natural facial massage to your face by increasing blood flow, keeping your face clean, healthy, nourished and wrinkle free. Works on dark circles also.
Fearlessness & Freedom
The very thought of performing, then the process of performing and then mastering this posture can be likened to a journey towards “Freedom and Fearlessness.”
A brief blog like this cannot do justice to the multidimensional aspects of Sirshasana. Regular practice has shown improvement in cases of recurring headache, migraine, diabetes, thyroid, ischemia, sensory sharpness and also enhancement in your sexual life.
Having spoken about the tremendous benefits this posture brings, it is equally important to note that the said benefits can be accrued only when Sirshasan is performed with ease and comfort. Please be aware that it can create more damage than benefits if ‘this’ aspect is not followed. It is very important to learn to perform Sirshasan in a systematic way using the right technique. It is even more important to know when not to be performed.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.