Asana of the month: Sirsasana (Headstand)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.

According to BKS Iyengar, “regular practice of Sirsasana makes healthy blood flow through the brain cells. This rejuvenates them so that thinking power increases and thoughts become clearer. The asana is thus a tonic for people whose brains tire quickly. It ensures a proper blood supply to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain…. People suffering from loss of sleep, memory, and vitality have recovered by the regular and correct practice of this asana and have become fountains of energy. The lungs gain the power to resist any climate and stand up to any work, which relieves one from colds, coughs, tonsillitis, halitosis, and palpitations. It keeps the body warm…. Regular practice of Sirsasana will show marked improvement in the hemoglobin content of the blood…. [It] develops the body, disciplines the mind, and widens the horizons of the spirit. One becomes balanced and self-reliant in pain and pleasure, loss and gain, shame and fame, and defeat and victory.” [Light on Yoga, at p. 190]

Salamba Sirsasana I (Basic Headstand Pose):
Salamba = with support
Sirsa = head


  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands
  • Strengthens the arms, legs, and spine
  • Strengthens the lungs
  • Tones the abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Therapeutic for asthma, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis


  • Back injury
  • Headache
  • Heart condition
  • High blood pressure
  • Menstruation
  • Neck injury
  • Detached retina
  • Low blood pressure: Don’t start practice with this pose
  • Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, don’t take up the practice of Sirsasana after you become pregnant.

Preparatory Poses:

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Salamba Sarvangasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Virasana

Follow-up Poses:

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Balasana

Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.”

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