Stand on your head everyday. Stand on your head right when you wake up. Stand on your head right before you fall asleep. Salamba Sirsasana (supported headstand) is a yoga pose that provides many benefits. All of these benefits can be achieved by standing on your head- this article may induce a sense of Déjà vu.
As I was saying; The benefits of Salamba Sirsasana are as numerous as the amount of upside down strange looks that your roommates will give you while you’re in the pose. Those strange looks will often be followed by compliments such as “Well, I’ve never seen that before” and of course there’s always silent curiosity.
According to Dr Rob Kiltz (yes, that’s his real name), Sirsasana will:
- Stimulate pituitary and pineal glands, which aid growth and the production of sex hormones
- Strengthen the spine, neck, shoulders, and arms
- Tones the legs and abdominals
- Relieves a buildup of fluid in the legs and feet
- Allows a healthy, pure blood flow to brain cells
- Stimulates the nervous system
- Aids in the treatment of headaches, anxiety, asthma, sinusitis, hay fever, depression, diabetes, insomnia, and symptoms of menopause
- Increases mental awareness and clarity
- Calms and soothes the mind
- May reverse the effects of lethargy, sleep loss, and memory loss
- Stimulates and strengthens the lungs, facilitating healthy breathing
- Improves posture and digestion
- Aids in the relief of tonsillitis, persistent coughing, common cold, bad breath, and palpitations
- Helps overcome problems of the liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines, and reproductive organs by reversing the pull of gravity
You use a lot of energy in this pose. And no, I’m not talking about psuedo mystical style Qi (Which, I admit I am definitely curious to know more about). I’m talking about the energy you’ve aquired from the food that you’ve eaten.
It takes quite a bit of strength, skill, focus, and work to balance on your head. You’re thoughts have to be constantly focused on maintaining the exact positioning of your body whilst upside down. Legs straight from the hip, knees straight, elbows underneath the shoulders, forearms sharing the weight. Most importantly, you must not get distracted by your thoughts.
A good way to keep focused is by paying attention to the way that you breath.
Bring your attention to the sensation of breathing. Breathe in long and out long for a couple of times, focusing on any spot in the body where the breathing is easy to notice, and your mind feels comfortable focusing. This could be at the nose, at the chest, at the abdomen, or any spot at all. Stay with that spot, noticing how it feels as you breathe in and out.
As you get better at maintaining the pose you’ll be able to balance for 10 minutes or longer. I like to practice Salamba Sirsasana early in the morning- right after I wake up- and right before I go to bed at night. I would definitely try it out against the wall. For all you beats out there, Jack Kerouac was known to start his day with headstands. From Kerouac’s Big Sur;
‘One fast move or I’m gone’ so I jump up, do my headstand first to pump blood back into the hairy brain, take a shower in the hall, new T-shirt and socks and underwear, pack vigorously, hoist the rucksack and run out throwing the key on the desk and hit the cold street…I’ve got to escape or die…
In Short: You should do a head stand!
If you’re interested in learning a whole lot more about yogic techniques A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya is a very thorough book on the topic.
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