Ardha Sirsasana / Half Headstand

Calming to the nervous system, nourishing to the brain cells, stimulating to the heart and circulation, balancing to the hormonal and digestive systems and strengthening to the spirit.

Contraindications (cautions): Back injury, headache, heart condition, high blood pressure, menstruation, neck injury, low blood pressure: don’t start practicing this pose.  Pregnancy: if you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it. However, don’t take up the practice of Sirsasana after you become pregnant.  Sirsasana is considered to be an intermediate to advanced pose. Do not perform this pose without sufficient prior experience or unless you have the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Step by Step

1.  In this classic yoga posture, the weight of the body rests on the head (1o%) and forearms (90%).  Proper alignment and preparation are essential.  Double up your yoga mat or place a folded blanket in front of you.  kneel in front of your mat/blanket, place your forearms on the mat/blanket, with your elbows no wider than your shoulders and form a triangle by interlacing your fingers.  If you are using a wall as a safeguard from falling in the beginning, the knuckles should be 2-3 inches (6-8cm) away from it.

2.  When performing half or full headstand, it is important to lift well up from elbows to shoulders.  Practice your lift by pressing down through the elbows and moving the shoulders up toward the hips.  Close the gap between the floor and the edge of your wrists.  These movements should increase the distance between the shoulders and the ears and lift the head away from the floor.  If you can’t lift your head, you are not ready for this pose and need to do some preparatory work to build flexibility and strength first.  Try Dolphin Pose to achieve this.

3.  Place the crown of the head between the wrists, with the back of the head resting against the palms of the hands.  For the correct alignment in the neck, the very top of the head, the fontanel (the spot in front of the crown of the head) must be in contact with the floor.

4.  Tuck your toes under and straighten your knees so your are in an inverted “V” shape.  Walk your feet toward the head, gradually bringing the weight of the body onto the head and arms.

5.  When the feet are as close to the head as possible, lift one leg, breathe deeply, gently lower and then lift other leg.

6.  Counterpose:  Balasana/Child’s Pose for a least 5 deep breaths, neck releases.