Shirshasana

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Sirsasana from front and side

Shirshasana (Sanskrit: शीर्षासन; IAST: Śīrṣāsana), or Yoga Headstand is an asana in hatha yoga.

Etymology and origins[edit]

Headstand (labelled at top Kapālī Āsana) from 1830 manuscript of the Joga Pradīpikā[1]

The name Śīrṣāsana comes from the Sanskrit words शीर्ष, Śīrṣa meaning "head",[2] and आसन, Āsana meaning "posture" or "seat".[3]

The name Śīrṣāsana however is relatively recent; the pose itself is much older, but was known by other names. Hemacandra's 11th century Yogaśāstra names it Duryodhanāsana ("Duryodhana's pose") or Kapālīkarana ("skull technique"),[4] while the 18th century Joga Pradīpikā calls it Kapālī āsana, head posture; it is number 17 of the set of 84 asanas described and illustrated there.[1] However, the 19th century Sritattvanidhi uses the name Śīrṣāsana as well as Kapālāsana.[5]

Description[edit]

In the Supported Headstand (Salamba Śīrṣāsana), the body is completely inverted, and held upright supported by the forearms and the crown of the head.[6] In his Light on Yoga, B. K. S. Iyengar uses a forearm support, with the fingers interlocked around the head, for the basic posture Śīrṣāsana I and its variations; he demonstrates a Western-style headstand, the palms of the hands on the ground with raised elbows, for Śīrṣāsana II and III; and other supports for further variants. Iyengar names and illustrates ten variants in all, as well as several preparatory and transitional poses.[7]

The yoga headstand is nicknamed "king" of all the asanas.[8][9][10][11][12] A variety of other asanas can be used to build the upper body strength and balance required for Sirsasana.[13]

Cautions[edit]

The pose is advised against in case of high blood pressure,[13][14] heart palpitations, glaucoma,[14] during menstruation,[13] or hiatal hernia.[13]

Variations[edit]

Transliteration English Image
Salamba Shirshasana 2 Headstand 2 [1]
Salamba Shirshasana 3 Headstand 3 [2]
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana Bound Hands Headstand [3]
Baddha Konasana Shirshasana Bound Angle Pose in Headstand [4]
Eka Pada Shirshasana Single Leg Headstand [5]
Mukta Hasta Shirshasana Free Hands Headstand [6]
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana Single Leg Revolved Headstand [7]
Parshva Shirshasana Side Headstand [8]
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana Single Leg Headstand [9]
Upavistha Konasana Shirshasana Seated Angle Pose in Headstand [10]
Urdhva Padmasana in Sirsasana Upward Lotus in Headstand [11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bühnemann, Gudrun (2007). Eighty-Four Asanas in Yoga: A Survey of Traditions (PDF). New Delhi: D. K. Printworld. pp. 47, 151. ISBN 978-8124604175.
  2. ^ "Shirshasana A - AshtangaYoga.info". Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  3. ^ Sinha, S. C. (1 June 1996). Dictionary of Philosophy. Anmol Publications. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7041-293-9.
  4. ^ Mallinson, James; Singleton, Mark (2017). Roots of Yoga. Penguin Books. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-241-25304-5. OCLC 928480104.
  5. ^ Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) [1996]. The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). Abhinav Publications. pp. 57, plate 6 (asana 31). ISBN 81-7017-389-2.
  6. ^ "Supported Headstand". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  7. ^ Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979) [1966]. Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika. Unwin Paperbacks. pp. 179–203.
  8. ^ Iyengar, B. K. S. (1970). Light on yoga: yoga dīpikā. Schocken Books. p. 127. ... Sirsasana the king of all asanas and the reasons are not hard to find.
  9. ^ Iyengar, Geeta (1 June 1998). Yoga: A Gem for Women. Allied Publishers. p. 187. ISBN 978-81-7023-715-0.
  10. ^ Hoare, Sophy (1977). Yoga. Macdonald Educational. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-356-06012-5.
  11. ^ Ramdev, Swami (1 March 2006). Yoga: Its Philosophy & Practice. Diamond Pocket Books. p. 92. ISBN 978-81-89235-15-4.
  12. ^ Norberg, Ulrica; Lundberg, Andreas (8 April 2008). Hatha Yoga: The Body's Path to Balance, Focus, and Strength. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-60239-218-2. Sirsasana is called the king of the asanas because it helps to open Sahasrara chakra, the crown chakra, and it stabilizes the pituitary gland.
  13. ^ a b c d Schumacher, John (July–August 1990). "Preparing for Inversions". Yoga Journal (93): 68–77.
  14. ^ a b Summers, Kathleen. "Sirsasana: Can You Bleed From the Headstand?". TheYogaDr.com. Retrieved November 21, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]