|Yoga Asana Guide|
Headstand - Shirshasana
Headstand is also called "King of Asanas', as the Headstand is considered to be a master cure asana for many diseases. The Headstand is one of the most effective asanas for body and mind. Mastering the Head-stand requires a little strength, but is mainly a matter of concentration and awareness.
1. From the Child Pose, sit up and hold the
elbows to measure the ideal distance. Then
bring the arms to the ground under the
2. Without moving the elbows, bring the
hands closer and interlock the fingers so that
your arms form a tripod on the ground.
3. Place the crown of the head on the ground
with the back of the head against the cupped
4. Keeping the head and the elbows
straighten the knees and lift the hips up.
Keep the weight on the elbows.
Walk with your feet towards the head,
trying to keep the knees straight. As the feet
come closer to the head, feel the back
straightening. Keep walking until the hips are
directly over the shoulders.
6. Carefully lift one foot at the time off the
ground, bending the knees into the chest.
Try to hold this position.
This is often referred to as the 'half-
headstand’; students should be able to
remain in it comfortably for at least 30
seconds before raising the legs.
7. Keeping the knees bent and together,
slowly straighten the hips, until the shins are
parallel to the ceiling. Keep the concentration
on the elbows and make sure that they do
not lift off the ground.
8. Slowly straighten the knees and bring the
feet up. Remember to keep the weight on the
elbows and breathe deeply.
Holding the Headstand
Start with five seconds, gradually increasing the time to fifteen minutes. While in the position make the
breath smooth and regular. The weight remains on the elbows.
Coming out of the Headstand
1. Reverse the procedure of going up. Begin by bending the knees.
2. Bend the hips bringing the feet to the floor.
3. Sit and relax in the Child's Pose for 30 seconds. Do not lift the head up quickly.
• The Headstand gives rest to the heart and circulatory system by inverting the body. Gravity helps to return
the venous blood to the heart.
• People who practice Shirshasana on a regular basis tend to have slow rates of respiration and heart beat.
This indicates that the respiratory and circulatory systems are strong and flexible.
• The brain, spinal cord and sympathetic nervous system are supplied with an increased flow of blood rich in
nutrients. Inverting the body enhances deep breathing, bringing increased oxygen supply to the brain.
• As a result of the brain receiving a rich supply of nutrients, all body functions are toned and enhanced.
Disorders of the nerves, eyes, ears, nose and throat are improved.
• Persons suffering from varicose veins will feel relief as stagnant blood drains from the lower extremities.
Shirshasana is also a remedy for renal colic, and stubborn constipation.
• The mind gets calmed with an increased control of spirit and emotions.
• It increases memory and intellectual capacity.
• Improved concentration; the Headstand is particularly beneficial to people who need strong powers of
concentration in their work: students, politicians, artists, scientists and writers.
Do NOT practice Headstand if you:
• Have high blood pressure.
• Suffer from glaucoma, detached retina or have had very recent eye surgery.
• Are four or more months pregnant.
• Have had a recent neck injury.
• Have a severe blocked nose or headache, or are in the midst of an asthmatic attack.
Children can try the Headstand whenever they like. However, remember that young children (under the age
of seven) have a different body-head ratio than adults. This will prevent them from doing the Headstand in
the tripod position. They can do it with their hands flat on the ground, but should not hold it for very long.
There is no upper age limit to doing the headstand.