Salamba Sirsasana: It’s Time to do a Headstand!

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

    bks sirsasana

    BKS Iyengar in Sirsasana

  • 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.

Sources:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/breathmed.html
http://www.cnyhealingarts.com/2011/03/21/the-health-benefits-of-salamba-sirsasana-supported-headstand-pose/
http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/dejavu.html
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/481
http://www.w-mystictraveller.com/what-is-qi.html

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Aspartame…Miracle Sweetener or Deathly Toxin?


Diet soda has been prescribed by professionals for years as a healthier alternative to non-diet soda products, specifically due to the lower sugar intake. In fact, diet soda is almost always void of any grams of sugar due to the magic of artificial sweeteners like ASPARTAME! This replacement is a miracle for some and a disaster for others.

Let’s start at the beginning. What is it? And why are we talking about it?

Aspartame is, according to the FDA, one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners since its inception in 1981. It is used in place of sugar in consumable products. The reason it is important is simple: it’s found in many different products that we consumers may or may not know about.

Here’s just a short (ha!) list of products that contain aspartame:

Breath Mints
 
Cereal
Chewing Gum
Flavored Coffee Syrups
Flavored Water Products
msg_dees
http://www.znakovi-vremena.net/en/e-additives_fluor_and_aspartame.htm
Frozen Ice
Frozen Ice Cream Novelties
Fruit Spreads
Gelatin, Sugar Free
Hard Candies
Ice Cream Toppings
Ice Creams, No Sugar
or Sugar Free
Iced Tea, Powder
Iced Tea, Ready to Drink
Instant Cocoa Mix
Jams & Jellies
Juice Blends
Juice Drinks
Maple Syrups
Meal Replacements
Mousse
No Sugar Added Pies
Non-Carbonated Diet Soft drinks
Nutritional Bars
Powdered Soft Drinks
Protein Nutritional Drinks
Pudding
Soft Candy Chews
Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
Sugar Free Cookies
Sugar Free Ketchup
Table Top Sweeteners
Vegetable Drinks
Yogurt, Drinkable
Yogurt, Fat Free
Yogurt, Sugar Free

 

Did you make it through all that? Great! Let’s continue!

The FDA’s stand on aspartame is:

Considering results from the large number of studies on aspartame’s safety, including five previously conducted negative chronic carcinogenicity studies, a recently reported large epidemiology study with negative associations between the use of aspartame and the occurrence of tumors, and negative findings from a series of three transgenic mouse assays, FDA finds no reason to alter its previous conclusion that aspartame is safe as a general purpose sweetener in food.

There is a pro-aspartame website that you can view and gather information on, but the basic claim it makes is:

The overwhelming body of scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that aspartame, even in amounts many times what people typically consume, is safe and not associated with adverse aspartame side effects.

Cancer.org also states that:

Complaints of various health issues have circulated since aspartame first appeared on the market in the 1980s. But for most people, no health problems have clearly been linked to aspartame use.

Andddddd! Now… LETS GET DANGEROUS!

For starters: Aspartame is linked to leukemia and lymphoma, Aspartame’s neurological side effects, other side effects of Aspartame, and Etc. One specific anti-aspartame rally crier is Mercola which states that:

Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death.

What’s more, the different parts to aspartame are:

Aspartic Acid: as discussed by Dr. Russell Blaylock, in excess can cause serious chronic neurological disorders.

Phenylalanine: again discussed by Dr. Blaylock, in excessive can cause schizophrenia or make one more susceptible to seizures.

Finally, Methanol, which…is just poison.

One side says Aspartame is linked to brain tumors, the other side says Aspartame is completely harmless. In the end, it is all up to choice. Are you a believer or are you abashed by all the aspartame hate?

 

Research:

Aspartame

FDA on Aspartame

Pro-Aspartame information center

Anti-Aspartame Mercola website

Dr. Russell Blaylock on Excitotoxins

Aspartic Acid

Phenylalanine

Methanol

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