Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand) is an invigorating inversion that focuses on focusing down the core of your body and up to the mind. There are many benefits to doing this pose including building strength, increasing lung capacity, and increasing blood flow throughout the body. Let us walk you through Salamba Sirsasana and dive deeper into the wonderful benefits of this pose.
How to Perform
To perform Salamba Sirsasana, begin in the thunderbolt pose. Measure the appropriate elbow width by placing opposite hands at the inside base of your arms. Keep your elbows in this position as you slowly place them down on the mat.
Next, bring your hands together to create a triangle shape with your forearms. Proceed to interlock your fingers while opening your palms and thumbs. Place the tips of your pinky fingers together to create a stable base.
Place the top of your head on the mat inside your hands while lifting your hips and straightening your legs. Proceed to walk your feet towards your head, bringing your hips above your shoulders.
Bring your knees towards your chest, and hold the position for 5 seconds. Slowly straighten your legs.
The goal of Salamba Sirsasana is to let your arms and shoulders hold you up while not allowing the weight to be taken on your head. This is to ensure safety while maximizing the benefits of this pose.
Let’s dive deeper.
Benefits Of Headstands
Stimulates nervous system
By inverting, you allow the flow of blood to reverse and stimulate the body’s nervous system. When performing a headstand, blood flow is drawn to the pituitary gland and hypothalamus gland.
These glands are considered master glands that regulate all other glands. Performing Salamba Sirsasana will allow your stress and sadness to melt away. Cleansing the glands will enable them to perform better, resulting in less stress.
There is also a unique way in which it stimulates the nervous system for some people in particular. Some people fear falling, and this pose has been shown to reenact that primal fear of falling. When we push through our fears and practice this pose, we stimulate neurons in our brain that allow us to practice courage.
Being upside down is also very beneficial to your gut health. When upside down, the effects of gravity are reversed on our whole body. When it comes to our digestive organs, this will help trapped gases and potentially stuck material in our body to move. Along with this new movement, we are increasing blood flow to different body parts, allowing us to absorb micronutrients better.
One of the more apparent benefits of practicing Salamba Sirsasana is the strength benefits. The entire body is strengthened in this position, but specific muscles such as the core, arms, and shoulders are targeted specifically.
When performing this movement, you should be focused on protracting the shoulders. Imagine you’re hugging the earth. This will ensure that your shoulders are getting adequately worked. You’re also significantly working your chest muscles and triceps when pushing off the ground.
Increased Blood Flow
One of the most incredible benefits of Salamba Sirsasana is increased blood flow. This will allow our bodies to let the blood travel to the scalp, decreasing hair loss and slowing down hair greying. While the blood flow increases to the scalp, your hair will get the nutrients needed to grow into more luscious and healthy hair.
Your lymphatic system is responsible for dumping all of the toxic waste out of your body. When upside down, the blood flow is directed to your head which directly stimulates the lymphatic system allowing our bodies to more thoroughly clean toxins from our bodies. This will enable us to approach yoga and life with a stronger and healthier body.
Increase Lung Capacity
When performing yoga exercises, your focus should be on your breath. When practicing breathwork in Salamba Sirsasana, you’ll increase your lung capacity significantly because the pressure on the body is being forced differently, allowing our lungs to work harder.
Specifically, practicing diaphragmatic breathing while in this pose will allow you to breathe up against the force of gravity and your internal organs and get a good breathwork workout. To experience the full power of diaphragmatic breathing, practice this:
1) Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
2) Hold your breath for 2 seconds
3) Exhale for 6 seconds
4) Repeat for 5-15 minutes
This will allow you to experience the full extent of diaphragmatic breathing. When you’re comfortable with this, slowly start to take this into your headstand practices.
One of the overlooked positive benefits is that your ability to focus increases. When you’re upside down, this increases blood flow to the brain, increasing your mental focus. Along with increasing focus, this pose gives you mental clarity when focusing on breathing, specifically in this pose.
Experienced Yogis will use this pose in preparation for their mindfulness practice. Doing this pose allows them to gain blood flow to their brain while bringing them into a state of mindfulness before their meditation practice.
Headstands are an advanced pose and before attempting one, there are a few poses you should master first. The first pose you should be able to perform is downward-facing dog. While this may seem like a simple beginner pose, it is the foundation of a headstand. You should be able to perform downward-facing dog with your arms straight and a flat upper back.
Other poses you should practice before attempting a headstand are high planks, dolphin planks, and dolphin pose. Once you have become a master at these, you can move on to headstand prep, where you can practice different headstand variations.
It’s important to remember that inversion moves, headstands included, are not safe for everyone to perform. If you have spine, neck, or shoulder issues or any underlying health conditions that could compromise your safety, inversion poses should be avoided. But don’t worry; there are plenty of other amazing poses that you can master.
Practicing Salamba Sirsasana has many benefits for your physical and mental well-being. Doing a headstand daily can help you reap increased health benefits.
When starting, you should practice Salamba Sirsasana for a minute a day, slowly increasing the time as you get more comfortable. Getting good in this position will take time and practice. Listen to your body and never rush into something you don’t feel comfortable with.
Whether you’re experienced or not. If you’re ready to experience the benefits of Salamba Sirsasana or just let go and experience the peace and power of yoga. At Zuda Yoga, we’re offering 4 weeks of unlimited classes for just $40. Come try us out for a month and find your flow.