Salamba Shirshasana, often shortened to Shirshasana, or Yoga Headstand is an inverted asana in modern yoga as exercise; it was described as both an asana and a mudra in classical hatha yoga, under different names.
Etymology and origins
The name Śīrṣāsana is relatively recent; the pose itself is much older, but was known by other names. Like other inversions, it was practised as Viparita Karani, described as a mudra in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and other classical texts on haṭha yoga. Hemacandra's 11th century Yogaśāstra names it Duryodhanāsana ("Duryodhana's pose") or Kapālīkarana ("head technique"), 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. However, the 19th century Sritattvanidhi uses the name Śīrṣāsana as well as Kapālāsana. The Malla Purana, a 13th-century manual for wrestlers, names but does not describe 18 asanas including Śīrṣāsana.
In the Supported Headstand (Salamba Śīrṣāsana), the body is completely inverted, and held upright supported by the forearms and the crown of the head. 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 tripod 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.
Shirshasana permits many variations, including:
|Salamba Shirshasana 2||Headstand 2 (palms down, shoulder width)|||
|Salamba Shirshasana 3||Headstand 3 (palms down, in front of face)|||
|Baddha Hasta Shirshasana||Bound Hands Headstand|||
|Baddha Konasana Shirshasana||Bound Angle Pose in Headstand|||
|Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana||Headstand Backbend|||
|Eka Pada Shirshasana[a]||Single Leg Headstand|||
|Mukta Hasta Shirshasana||Free Hands Headstand|||
|Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana||Single Leg Revolved Headstand|||
|Parshva Shirshasana||Side Headstand|||
|Parshvaikapada Shirshasana||Single Leg Headstand|||
|Upavistha Konasana Shirshasana||Seated Angle Pose in Headstand|||
|Urdhva Padmasana in Shirshasana||Upward Lotus in Headstand|||
Mandalasana, Circle pose, is not a single variation but a sequence of movements in Shirshasana in which the legs move in a full circle around the body from one headstand variation to the next.
- Bühnemann, Gudrun (2007). Eighty-Four Asanas in Yoga: A Survey of Traditions. New Delhi: D. K. Printworld. pp. 47, 151. ISBN 978-8124604175.
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- Hatha Yoga Pradipika III.7
- Mallinson, James; Singleton, Mark (2017). Roots of Yoga. Penguin Books. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-241-25304-5. OCLC 928480104.
- Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) . The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). Abhinav Publications. pp. 56–57, plate 6 (asana 31) and note 89, page 67. ISBN 81-7017-389-2.
- "Supported Headstand". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979) . Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika. Unwin Paperbacks. pp. 179–203.
- 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.
- Iyengar, Geeta (1 June 1998). Yoga: A Gem for Women. Allied Publishers. p. 187. ISBN 978-81-7023-715-0.
- Hoare, Sophy (1977). Yoga. Macdonald Educational. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-356-06012-5.
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- 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.
- Schumacher, John (July–August 1990). "Preparing for Inversions". Yoga Journal (93): 68–77.
- Summers, Kathleen. "Sirsasana: Can You Bleed From the Headstand?". TheYogaDr.com. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- Acott, Ted S.; Cramer, Holger; Krucoff, Carol; Dobos, Gustav (2013). "Adverse Events Associated with Yoga: A Systematic Review of Published Case Reports and Case Series". PLoS ONE. 8 (10): e75515. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075515. ISSN 1932-6203.
- Penman, Stephen; Stevens, Philip; Cohen, Marc; Jackson, Sue (2012). "Yoga in Australia: Results of a national survey". International Journal of Yoga. 5 (2): 92. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.98217. ISSN 0973-6131.
- Iyengar, B. K. S. (1970). Light on yoga: yoga dīpikā. Schocken Books. pp. 373–377.
- "Circle Pose (Mandalasana): Steps, Precautions And Health Benefits". Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Peak Pose: Mandalasana (Headstand Variation)". Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Iyengar, B. K. S. (2005). Illustrated Light on Yoga. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-81-7223-606-9.
- Saraswati, Swami Satyananda (2003). Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. Nesma Books India. ISBN 978-81-86336-14-4.
- Saraswati, Swami Satyananda (January 2004). A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. Nesma Books India. ISBN 978-81-85787-08-4.