Salamba Sirshasana (supported headstand pose)
Place the crown of the head on the blanket between the hands.
Move the hands back towards each side of the knees and adjust the position so that the hands form the corners of an equilateral triangle with the head. The forearms should be vertical and the elbows bent.
Lift the knees from the floor, straightening the legs and raising the buttocks.
Walk the feet forward until the thighs are near the chest and the back is almost vertical.
Slowly raise one foot off the floor, balance and then raise the other foot.
Utilizing the arms for support, raise the legs and straighten the knees so that the body is fully erect.
Keep the spine and legs in a single vertical line.
This is the final position.
Hold the pose for as long as is comfortable.
Return to the starting position. Slowly refold the legs and lower the body with control, in the reverse order, until the toes touch the ground.
Remain in the kneeling position with the head on the floor for a short time.
Slowly return to the upright position.
Breathing:Retain the breath inside while assuming the final position. Breathe normally in the final position.
Retain the breath inside while lowering the body.
Other details: As for sirshasana.
Duration:Start by holding the pose for 10 to 30 seconds, gradually adding a few seconds each week until the desired period is reached. 3 to 5 minutes spent in the final position is sufficient for general health. However, sirshasana may be practised by adepts for periods of up to 30 minutes.
Awareness:Physical – when first practising, on maintaining the balance. For adepts, on the brain, on the centre of the head or on the respiration.
Sequence:When first learning, practise sirshasana at the end of the asana program; more experienced practitioners may perform it either at the beginning or the end. It should be followed by tadasana, as a counter pose, and then shavasana.
Contra-indications:Sirshasana should not be practised by people with neck problems, headache or migraine, high blood pressure, heart disease, thrombosis, arteriosclerosis, chronic catarrh, chronic constipation, kidney problems, impure blood, severe near-sightedness, weak blood vessels in the eye, conjunctivitis, chronic glaucoma, inflammation of the ears or any form of blood haemorrhage in the head.
It should not be practised during pregnancy or menstruation,
Benefits:This asana is very powerful for awakening sahasrara chakra and therefore it is considered the greatest of all asanas.
Sirshasana revitalizes the entire body and mind. It relieves anxiety and other psychological disturbances which form the root cause of many disorders such as asthma, hay fever, diabetes and menopausal imbalance.
It also helps to rectify many forms of nervous and glandular disorder, especially those related to the reproductive system.
‘This asana reverses the effect of gravity on the body. Strain on the back is thus alleviated and the reversed flow of blood in the legs and visceral regions aids tissue regeneration.
The weight of the abdominal organs on the diaphragm encourages deep exhalation so that larger amounts of carbon dioxide are removed from the lungs