Sirsasana or headstand is one of my favorite postures, and has been for many years. There was a time when I would request a headstand on every class I went to whenever the instructor asked us what we wanted to work on. To this day, I practice headstand for at least 10 minutes, 6 days a week.
This posture may seem like just a fun party trick, but it is actually so much more. The health benefits of headstand and its variations are many.
Before you begin, remember that while you are learning head stand it is best to practice with a teacher until you find your bearing. This posture is healing, but only if you are doing it properly and safely. If you have any neck or back issues, you will most likely want to skip this posture until you are recovered. It is also commonly advised not to go upside-down if you are on your moon cycle or pregnant. If you have a healthy neck and back and know this pose, here are my top ten health benefits of Headstand!
1. Relieves Stress
Headstand is known as a cooling posture, meaning that it helps you to draw your attention inwards. This posture is extremely helpful if you are having anxiety, stress, fear or otherwise worrisome thoughts. Combine headstand with long, slow breathing and you have a recipe for stress relief.
2. Increases Focus
When you turn upside down, you are increasing the blood flow to your brain. This can help to improve mental function, and increase you sense of focus.Along with helping to reduce fear and worry, this posture will improve your ability to keep your mind sharp and clear.
3. Improves Blood Flow To The Eyes
When you flip over, you will be sending extra oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the head, and that means more will be getting to your eyes. This can help to prevent macular degeneration and other eye issues.
4. Increases Blood Flow To The Head And Scalp
Headstand is an awesome posture if you want to optimize the nutrient flow to your head and scalp. You can help your body deliver extra nutrients and oxygen to your scalp, thereby improving nutrient delivery to your hair follicles by turning upside down. You never know, perhaps a consistent headstand practice will help you grow a more luscious head of hair!
5. Strengthens Shoulders And Arms
While you are holding yourself up in headstand, you should be pushing down into the ground with your forearms, utilizing the strength of your arms, shoulders and back to keep the pressure off of your head and neck. This is an awesome posture for improving upper body strength and muscular endurance.
6. Improves Digestion
When you allow the effects of gravity to be reversed on your digestive organs, you will help to move stuck material, release trapped gases, as well as improve blood flow to the all important digestive organs — increasing nutrient absorption and delivery to your cells. Again, if you combine headstand with focused belly breathing you will have a double whammy effect.
7. Helps To Flush Out The Adrenal Glands
Going upside-down will squeeze your little adrenal glands, which are responsible for the production of those so-called stress hormones. The cleaner your adrenal glands are, the more optimal they will function. This will help you to adapt to stress better!
8. Decreases Fluid Build-Up In The Legs, Ankles, And Feet
Edema in the legs is no fun, and it can happen if you tend to spend long hours on your feet. Reversing the effects of gravity on your bodily fluids will help to flush out built up water in the legs, relieving the uncomfortable feeling of edema.
9. Develops Strength In The Core Muscles
Headstand is a major core workout. You will rely on your core strength to hold your legs up and keep your balance throughout the pose. Having a strong core makes you more durable and less prone to injury in yoga, and in life overall.
10. Stimulates The Lymphatic System
Your lymph system can also be called your garbage dump system. This network of nodes and fluids help to remove waste products from your blood. When you flip onto your head you will be directly stimulating your lymphatic system and thereby helping to remove toxins from your body.
Sirsasana is definitely not a pose I would recommend you get into on your first day of learning and practicing yoga. But I do highly recommend you keep at it because it’s a great posture with tons of benefits! What’s YOUR take on headstands?
Author of The Perception Diet, a book designed to help you create the life and body you desire through awareness and a deeper connection with yourself. Through her own struggles with body images issues, Ali used yoga, meditation, mindfulness and serious self love to heal. Now it is her mission to spread the tools she used to gain her wellness with the world.