Asana Spotlight | Headstand

Salamba Shirshasana stands for supported headstand in Sanskrit. ‘Salamba’ denotes supported, ‘shirsha’ for head, and ‘asana’ for posture. Headstand is revered as the king of all postures. In yoga mythology it is said that by inverting into this perfectly vertical shape, the yogi will live longer. It is also believed that the nectar of immortality already exists within us and by reversing the blood flow we are cycling the energy back into our bodies rather than leaking this precious elixir. Aside from this metaphor, this posture does in fact have a myriad of benefits which might be why the ancient yogis praised it so much. By standing on the crown of the head with the hands cupped around the back of the head and the feet extended up above, the blood flow moves all the way down to the brain, stimulating the nervous system and increasing circulation. Poor blood pressure, decreased circulation and lack of oxygen are often major reasons why mental deterioration, such as dementia occurs. So by engaging in this inversion we are improving brain performance such as memory and concentration, improving the functioning of the endocrine system, alleviating anxiety, depression and mental fatigue. Some contraindications are glaucoma, head injuries, high blood pressure, and neck problems. If you are healthy otherwise, you will receive many benefits. It is best when starting to learn, to study with a trained professional as posture and alignment matters to keep the practice long-lasting and safe. Other positive benefits are the improvement of posture, enhanced digestion, a balanced core, and stronger muscles of the back, shoulders and arms. Now go explore the world upside down, you never know what new insights you will see!