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Sirshasan (Headstand)
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Variation 1 : The exercise is practiced with the help of the hands and arms. The whole weight of the head and trunk is placed on the interlocked hands and the elbows. The two elbows are interlocked fingers form the three points or tripod on which the body is balanced. The weight on the head is so little that it is not even felt. When the weight is divided equally between the elbows and the locked fingers, it is easy to balance.

Use a soft cushion or a four-folded blanket. Spread the blanket on the floor. Sit on your knees. By interweaving the fingers, make a fingerlock and keep it on the blanket so that the locked hands serve as a vertex and the two elbows as the base, enabling the forearms to balance the body.

The top of the head may be supported from behind by the fingerlock while doing this asana.

Keep the top of your head on the blanket close to the fingerlock. The parietal (frontal) portion of the top of the head should be placed on the blanket and not the portion nearer to the forehead. This will help you to keep the spine erect in this asana. If the portion nearer to the forehead is used, the spine will suffer a curvature in balancing the whole body.


Now the knees are brought close to the body, and the toes are allowed to touch the ground for balancing. When the trunk is sufficiently thrown back, you can slowly remove the toes from the ground. Slowly raise the legs high up in the air till the whole body becomes erect. Stand in the asana for five seconds only and gradually increase the period to 15 minutes. By regularly practicing even five to ten minutes of headstand, the maximum benefits can be derived.

Always breathe through the nose only and never through the mouth. In the beginning, some persons will find it difficult to breathe through the nose but after a few days this will change.

In learning the headstand in the above manner you will not need any help. You can learn the method of balancing by repeated attempts. Instead of a fingerlock method, you can keep the palms of your hands on the blanket, one on each side. You will find this easy. When you have learned to balance the whole body, you can take the fingerlock method.

Lower the legs slowly to the floor to the original position. Lower the legs very, very slowly and avoid jerks. After completing the asana, stand erect for a minute or two. This will harmonize the blood circulation.

Variation 2 : In this position, the hands are kept separated and the head takes an equal weight. This is designed to strengthen the muscles of the shoulders, superficial muscles of the back, and the muscles of the arms. By stretching the thighs and keeping the soles of the feet together, the circulation of the lower extremities is increased. This is also stretches the veins and strengthens the muscles of the thighs, legs and feet.

Variation 3 : The same benefit is derived as in variation 2. This gives an extra stretching and twisting to muscles of the thighs and legs and squeezes the venous blood from the tired veins.

Variation 4 : In this pose, the muscles of the thighs and legs, which are used for walking and standing, are given a maximum stretching.

Variation 5 : Here, the hands are folded in front of the head as a support. In this position more pressure is put on the head. The cervical and thoracic portions of the vertebrae get immense pressure and the ligaments connected with the vertebral column are supplied with more arterial blood.

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