One of the most asked questions I used to hear when I just started practising Yoga was “What is the Best time to do Sirsasana?” “Can we do Headstand in the evening?” And I was surprised to see my Yoga Guru (Teacher) answer that one could easily do Sirsasana (headstand) for half an hour by regular practice. Sounds quite impossible! Actually, it isn’t! Trust me. “There are people who are doing this Asana for two or three hours at one stretch. ” – Swami Sivananda .
Before we start discussing what time duration and when is the best time to do sirsasana (headstand) – first let us briefly understand the technique to do Sirsasana.
Learning Headstand develops brainpower, a healthy heart and great confidence to name a few (See below for Benefits of Sirsasana). However, practise it either under the guidance of an expert or just study the information very carefully about the techniques and contraindications. Follow step-by-step guidelines – because you do not really need too much strength and flexibility to do so.
Spread a yoga mat and sit on both your knees. Lock your fingers by interweaving them. Place them on the ground up to the elbow. Next, bend forward on your knees and place the top of your head on the locked-fingers or between your two hands. Now, gradually raise both your legs till they come to a vertical position. Stay in this position for just 5 seconds if you are a beginner. In the end, slowly bring your legs down.
What is the Best time to do Sirsasana? Can we do Sirsasana in the evening?
Yes, you can do the headstand (Sirsasana) both morning and evening on the same day. However, the Best time to do Sirsasana is to start the practice in the morning facing east. In case, you do it in the evening do it facing the west.
Can you do headstand after eating?
Always remember to do the Yoga Pose Sirsasana when your stomach is empty. Do headstand as long as you have not eaten anything at least 3 hours before you practice the Yoga pose.
How long can you stay in a Headstand Position?
If you are a beginner you can stand in this position for 5 seconds. Then, every week you can slowly and gradually increase it to 15 seconds.
By regular practice, you will start feeling very comfortable in the headstand position. As you progress, you can increase the duration of sisrsasna (headstand) from 20 to 30 minutes.
If you are strong, you can remain in Headstand position for half an hour by practising the asana (pose) for 2-3 months.
Things to remember while doing Headstand:
You can opt to place your hands on each side of your head while practising sirsasana. It is easier for you to balance your body in case you are fat. Once you have learnt to balance you can take to the proper method of finger-locking.
If you have been practising balancing on the parallel bars or on the ground – doing the sirsasana or headstand will be a cakewalk for you. Always feel free to ask your Yoga instructor or friend to help you keep the legs steady while you are practising headstand. In the beginning, you could also take the help of a wall to learn to stand on the head.
What to do immediately after you come out of the Headstand or Sirsasana position?
After the Yoga exercise – Headstand is over you ought to rest for 5 minutes and preferably drink a cup of milk. If you do the sirsasana for 20 or 30 minutes you could take some light refreshment or milk after it is over. Remember, it is very important.
Tips on Duration and Techniques of Sirsasana (Headstand):
- Do not practise Sirsasana or headstand for a long time during summers. However, in winters you can practise it as long as you want.
- Make sure you do the Sirsasana slowly. Never jerk your body up to come in the position or come out of the position.
- Maintain calm and cool. Do not feel anxious if you take a longer time to come in the position than you expected – do not feel anxious. Each body and mind has a different strength and pace.
- Avoid any kind of jerks when you perform the Headstand (shirshasana). Remember, to do the asana very very slowly.
- Never breathe through your mouth while you are standing on the head during headstand. Always breathe slowly through the nose.
- Some beginners may feel some sensation while practising headstand, however, it will soon vanish. Actually, it will bring joy and glee to the Yogis.
Many of you might not be able to practice the headstand properly and find it difficult to perform it in the beginning. You are bound to make a few common mistakes and you might injure yourself as well. But if you can be aware of these common mistakes you can avoid unnecessary strain and pain.
However, do not give up on yourself and try to avoid these mistakes mentioned below.
- The weight of your body should not be on your head or neck.
- Avoid your back being arched with your legs dropping backwards.
- Hands and elbows are too wide in distance. Try to avoid this as it may affect your balance.
- Lastly, collapsed and hunched shoulders are a big no-no.
WHO SHOULD AVOID DOING HEADSTAND OR SIRSASANA?
- Headstand is not suitable for people who suffer from neck ailments or scoliosis.
- People with heart conditions, vertigo, high blood pressure should be extremely cautious and avoid this pose.
Children under the age of seven years should refrain from practising headstand. The reason being that their skull is freshly fused and can be still soft and prone to injury.
- If you suffer from a back injury or headaches, you should avoid performing this pose.
- Women when menstruating, should avoid this headstand as well.
- Pregnant women should not practice this pose or asana if they have never tried it before. If you are an expert and have been practising for a while then, you can continue practising this pose through your pregnancy.
- People with low blood pressure should not begin the pose until their blood pressure is normalized.
- If you suffer from glaucoma, then you should avoid the headstand as it can increase the pressure in the eyes.
THE BENEFITS OF SIRSASANA
The idea of going upside down on your head may not be appealing to most people. In fact, this inversion can really be scary for certain individuals, like you and me. However, the “upside” of falling into a headstand( upside-down position) actually helps to boost your morale and render a new perception in your life.
Esteemed yoga teacher, B.K.S Iyengar, calls Sirsasana the ‘King of yoga postures’ because of its magical and wonderful effects that it has on your mind, body, and spirit.
- If you do Sirsasana Or Headstand regularly you experience slower heartbeat and slow rates of respiration – an indicator of a flexible and stronger circulatory system.
- Richer and better blood flows into the spinal cord, brain and sympathetic nervous system. Therefore all body functions are enhanced. Disorders of the eyes, ears, nose and throat improve.
- If you have varicose veins you will find relief after practising Headstand as the stagnant blood tends to drain from the lower part of the body.
- Headstand also relieves you from renal colic and stubborn constipation.
The pressure on the lower back is released. This is so because during the headstand the lower back is released off the pressure.
- The Sirsasana also combats Asthma and dropped stomach.
- It helps warm up the extreme tips of your toes.
- Headstand helps boost memory and intellectual capacity.
- Improves concentration.
- Benefits eyesight and hearing.
It helps in keeping up brahmacharya*. The seminal energy is transferred into the Ojas Shakti ( the spiritual force developed through the creative power of celibacy and yoga practice (Sadhana). In other words, it is called sex sublimation.
The seminal energy flows into the Ojas shakti and flows towards the brain for being stored up as a spiritual force which can be further used for contemplative purposes – Dhyana (Meditation).
Examples by Swami Sivananda:
“Pandit Raghunath Sastri of Badrinarayan was very fond of this Asana and used to practise it for 2 or 3 hours. There was a Yogi at Varanasi who entered into Samadhi in this Asana. Sri Jaspat Rai, P.V. Acharyaji Maharaj, and others were doing this Asana regularly for more than one hour daily at one stretch.”
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