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Health Benefits of Shirshasana

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 03/01/2024
  • 2 min read

As many as 3000 years old, Yoga is now globally regarded as a holistic approach to health and wellness. The ancient Indian discipline has gained popularity among health enthusiasts for its ability to promote strength, endurance, flexibility, greater self-control and calmness.

Every asana (posture) serves a different purpose and focuses on different body parts and muscle groups. And among these various poses, reigning as the “king of asanas” is the Shirsasana or Sirsasana.

Let us understand its meaning and explore Sirsasana yoga’s benefits.

What is Shirsasana?

One of the most advanced yoga poses, the Shirsasana/Sirshasana, is essentially a headstand. When you break down the term, “Shir” translates to head, whereas “asana” means posture. Shirsasana is an anti-gravitational or inverted yogasana pose.

This is a complex yoga posture that requires the head of the individual to be stable. Once the head is stabilised, the rest of the body is inverted and supported using the forearms. To be able to perform the headstand, an individual must not only have strength in their forearms but also great focus and precision.

Sirsasana Yoga Benefits

Sirsasana is an energising inversion that brings a host of physical benefits, including strength building in legs, arms, and core.

As a complex inversion exercise, the asana enables improved blood circulation to your brain and heart. This subsequently revives your body's lymphatic and cardiovascular systems and keeps you energetic.

The headstand benefits also include enhanced concentration during meditation and activation of the “Sushumna Nadi” (that runs straight up the length of the spinal cord and through each of the chakras) to stimulate dormant areas of the mind that are responsible for higher thought and feeling.

Here are some additional Sirsasana benefits:

Improves Blood Circulation: One of the most unmissable headstand benefits is its ability to boost blood circulation throughout your body.

This improved blood circulation helps an individual feel rejuvenated after practising the headstand. By improving the blood circulation to the brain and heart, the Sirsasana also enhances cardiovascular function.

Strengthens the Core: To stabilise the body and maintain balance in Sirsasana, it is important to have strong core muscles.

The strength of the abdominal muscles works to ensure the body is aligned and keeps one from overarching or collapsing. It also strengthens the muscles in the upper body, including the arms and the core.

Relieves Stress: In the current times, stress and anxiety are becoming more common among individuals. Amongst the benefits of standing upside down, an interesting one is that it can help overcome stress and anxiety symptoms.

Sirsasana can be combined with slow breathing exercises as a stress-busting routine. As a cooling pose, the Sirsasana draws your attention inward.

Improves the Functioning of Pituitary Glands: The Pituitary Glands are also called the “master gland” because the hormones they produce help monitor and regulate several important body functions.

These include growth and sexual/reproductive function and development. One of the Sirsasana benefits is that it can revitalise the central nervous system and improve blood flow to your brain. This consequently rectifies any glandular disorder while enhancing brain functionality.

Enhances Memory and Intellectual Capacity: By increasing blood circulation in the brain, the Sirsasana boosts brain functionality.

This improves your willpower, concentration, and focus, thereby increasing memory and intellectual capacity.

Improves Digestive System: When you perform the Sirsasana, you reverse gravity on your digestive organs with the inversion. This can help you pass the trapped gases from your abdomen, which improves your digestive system.

The headstand also enhances blood circulation to the critical digestive organs, which subsequently aids the absorption of nutrients and improves your health.

Improves Hair Health: The benefits of Sirsasana for hair are becoming better known. By improving blood circulation in the scalp, the headstand helps reduce hair loss, hair thinning, and balding.

Additional benefits of Sirsasana for hair include promoting new hair growth, preventing greying, and maximising the growth capacity of dormant hair follicles.

Improves Eye Health: Another commonly known advantage is Sirsasana’s benefits for the eyes.

The inversion via Sirsasana enables oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to reach your head, which subsequently reaches your eyes, preventing macular degeneration and other vision problems.

Other Benefits: Here are some additional benefits of standing upside down in Sirsasana:

The Sirsasana prevents fluid development (oedema) in your feet, ankles, and legs

It is an excellent asana for detoxifying your body as it stimulates the lymphatic system and helps expel toxins from your blood

Practising Sirsasana eliminates problems of cold, sinus, and cough owing to its ability to energise and revitalise your body

By improving blood circulation in the brain, the Sirsasana calms your mind and improves sleep patterns

Sirsasana Procedure

As it is an advanced yoga pose, it is important to be mindful of the right Sirsasana procedure and seek guidance from a trained yoga instructor for initial practice rounds.

Before you start with Shirshasana steps, tuck your shirt in your pants so it does not bother you when you are upside down. If you are wearing accessories such as bangles, rings, or glasses, remove them and keep them aside.

Here are the Shirshasana steps:

Step 1: Sit in Vajrasana (with your heels tucked under your hips and sitting on your knees)

Step 2: Bring your arms to the ground, directly under your shoulders

Step 3: Without moving your elbows, interlock your fingers and bring your hands closer such that your arms form a triangle

Step 4: Now place your head on the ground with the crown of your head secured in cupped hands

Step 5: Lift your knees and glutes off the floor and straighten them

Step 6: Walk your feet towards your trunk slowly

Step 7: Here, you prepare to lift yourself off the floor - gently bend your knees (this will straighten your spine) and bring your heels to your buttocks

Step 8: Now inhale and raise your legs skyward

Step 9: Focus your eyes at a steady point and be mindful of your breathing

Step 10: Balance your body and maintain this position for as long as you can. Advanced yoga practitioners start by holding the pose for one minute and gradually moving up to five minutes.

When practising Sirsasana, it is just as important to know how to get out of the pose to prevent any injuries. Here are the steps to come out of the headstand:

Step 1: Fold your legs slowly with your thighs perpendicular to the floor

Step 2: Gently drop your legs to the ground

Step 3: To regain balance from the inverted position, sit in Shishuasana (child pose) for some time

Step 4: Then, release the hand position and, for some time, sit in Vajrasana

Step 5: Finally, rest for a few minutes in Savasana (Corpse Pose) before you go on with your day

Sirsasana Contraindications

It is important to exercise caution while performing the headstand to prevent any injuries. Here are the contraindications concerning Sirsasana that individuals must be mindful of:

Pregnant women must not perform the Sirsasana as this is a high fall risk pose

Children under seven years of age must refrain from performing the Sirsasana as their skull is soft, and it may lead to injury

Individuals suffering from glaucoma must also not practise the Sirsasana as it can create pressure on their eyes and affect their eyesight

If you are prone to shoulder and neck pains and migraines, you should not perform the headstand

Those with a severe heart condition or hypertension must also not practise the Sirsasana as it can lead to complications in their condition

In Conclusion

As an advanced yoga pose, Sirsasana can be mastered with patience and regular practice. When you perform this asana under a trained professional, they can assist you with a more controlled technique that makes you aware of the weight distribution during the process.

However, while Sirsasana offers a host of health benefits, it is not a comprehensive remedy for healthcare. To completely secure your health, it is important to eat a nutritious diet, get ample exercise, and invest in a health insurance plan.

Medical insurance secures you against any unfortunate eventualities concerning your health by taking care of treatment and hospitalisation expenses.

Moreover, contrary to popular opinion, a health insurance plan is not an expensive investment. In fact, when you buy health insurance online, you even get a discount on your premiums.

However, before investing in any policy, carefully analyse your healthcare needs and compare health insurance plans to get the best coverage that is tailored to your needs.

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