A Headstand a Day Makes You Smarter?

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Yoga Asanas


Shirsha = head

Asana = posture

Up is down and down is up. Everything in your body that you controlled is now inverted and you lose your balance for a moment. Orientation is also lost but then you….are standing on your head for the first time and it is awesome.

Sirshansan, or Headstand, is often called the King of the asanas. Queen or King, it doesn’t really matter. The precious asana is said to make you smarter. Is that true and, if so, how can that be?

It is also said that Sri Iyengar’s yoga practice consists of 30 minutes of headstand every day. That is the reason why he is so smart and quick in his mind. He is living proof. If it is true or not, I do not know.

Osho, on the other hand, claims that yogis are stupid because they stand on their heads too much. If that is really the reason, then it needs to be investigated.

In class, people love the headstand in the finishing asanas. Some people have a lot of fear about being upside down and others turn into giggling kids again. Some people “use” the headstand to access creativity.

Some bands, like Red Hot Chili Peppers, stand on their heads before going on stage – to enter Samadhi, I guess. For high performances, the headstand is more powerful and healthier than drugs.

There is something about head standing.

Before I persuade you to learn the headstand there are some things I want you to keep in mind.

I recommend learning the headstand from a qualified teacher if you feel unsure. Headstands should not be done if you have neck injuries, and are contraindicated for ear or eye problems, high blood pressure (very high), during menstruation, if you are pregnant or have acid reflux. 

I would say that you should feel that you are more or less in control of your body before attempting a headstand. It is not something you should do at your first yoga class, although it is not an advanced pose that requires a lot of flexibility.

The purpose of yoga

The physiological purpose of yoga is to obtain a parasympathetic response in the autonomic nerve system. This means a lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and a lower respiratory frequency. 

The finishing asanas are a series of inverted poses done to prepare the body for the final and most important asana, Savasana. In Savasana the nervous system is totally rejuvenated and refreshed.

In Iyengar Yoga the shoulder stand is done after the headstand, and in Ashtanga Yoga it is the other way around. Which is best is for you todecide. How does it feel?

How does the headstand actually affect you? 

  •     Blood pressure increases in the upper body and goes down in the legs. When the position is correctly executed, in alignment, blood pressure drops a little.
  •     Improved blood flow to the brain may increase some functions of the cerebrum, like memory and concentration.
  •     Improved drainage of blood and lymph may occur when it flows to the core from the legs for oxidation.
  •     A headstand gives the heart more rest than any other resting position due to the fact that the heart does not need to pump blood from the lower extremities and can relax. The arteries get more dilated in the arms and hands because the body is trying to lower the high blood pressure.
  •     Conquering our fear of being upside down empowers us.
  •     Focused attention during a long period of time—in Ashtanga Yoga we stay in the pose for 25 breaths—improves our ability to focus and it also improves our body awareness.

The instructions for a supported headstand are: the body is totally inverted and is held in an upright position supported by the forearms; the crown of the head is in contact with the ground.

Want to learn more? Here is an instruction video for HEADSTAND

Source: How To Experience a Natural High

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