Headstand is PERFECT for strenghtening your upper body and core. Alot of the stability in headstand comes from your upper back and shoulders- contraction of these muscles helps to protect the head and neck.
Sirsasana also has a variety of other benefits including stimulating brain function- sending the blood to the head, as well as stimulating the pineal gland, which helps to calm and steady the brain. The part of the brain is also responsible for regulating our sleep patterns! More headstands- better sleep! WONDERFUL.
Headstand also stimulates the pituitary gland- responsible for releasing endorphins- the happy hormone! Headstands also reduce the production of cortisol, the STRESS hormone. Sold yet? If not this is BOUND to tip you... Some say headstand is the equivalent to a facial! (yes really) This is mainly due to the blood flow to the face, increasing circulation to the skin of the cheeks and forehead mean oxygenation and beautiful young skin.
HOWEVER, do not stay so long in handstand that you start bursting blood vessels- 1-3 mins is quite enough!!
How do you get into head stand?
- Start on all fours. Place your forearms on the floor, elbows should be shoulder width apart- not sticking out to the side. Clasp your hands around the base of your head/ neck. The FLAT part of your head should be down on the mat, so the neck is nice and LONG.
- Lift the knees to straighten the legs, sitting bones high to the sky. We want to keep the torso long and straight. Engage the triceps as you flatten the shoulder blades down the back, this will protect your head and neck from the weight of the shoulders. You now have a beautiful inverted V.
- Walk the feet towards your face. Little steps. Imagine someone is pulling your hips up, so the weight isn't in the feet, the strength comes from the core and the upper body, it's almost as if your feet are being dragged towards your face and eventually up in to the air. I like to think of my legs and weightless and floating, rather than trying to throw the shotput up in the air! It's more like a bird soaring! NOTE: If you're beginning the best bit of advice I can give you is stay in the upside down V for a while, listenng to your body and how it feels, you will still be inverted, so you are still enjoying many benefits! Walk the feet closer and closer until one day your feet with naturally just float up. There should be NO KICKING UP in headstand. If you need to kick, you aren't ready. WHICH IS FINE- just let it come to you naturally in time. And it will come. Many people feel they need to get from A to B very fast in this position, but I think it's important to enjoy the journey and the transition just as much as the end result. No rushing!
- I lift one leg at a time in sirsasana, which technically is a perfect yogic world I shouldn't be doing, but I bring my knees in to just about my elbows, like an upside down squat and then straighten, which I am currently fine with! Once those legs are up in the air, floating around, rotate the inner thighs together and press the feet flat firmly towards the ceiling- like you were standing (picture is not doing this... but I was hungover!) Ideally we want the arches of the feet should align with the pelvis, which in turn should align with the crown of the head. The weight should be even between the two forearms and the fingers relaxed, and it is vital that the tailbone keeps lifitng upwards towards the heels, and not sinking- we dont want lazy snaky headstands!!
Questions welcome! Just drop me an email!