Also known as the “King of Yoga Asana”, Headstand is indeed a veritable all-star in the yoga pose line up. Working Headstands into your sequencing may be difficult initially. But once you can do one, you are going to reap multiple benefits! Just remember that this asana is not for newcomers. As it requires adequate strength and control of the torso and shoulders.
Also, it is important to be aware that there is a contraindication with Headstand. If you have a neck or back issue or injury, abstain from Headstand until the areas concerned have fully healed.
Now, let's have a look at some of the glorious health benefits of Headstands:
Tones the Upper Body
A properly executed Headstand incorporates the muscles of the shoulders and upper back (mainly the trapezius and deltoids). You will also need adequate strength in the upper back in order to support the head and neck in Headstand. Otherwise, the vertebrae of the cervical spine will be compressed – which is neither healthy nor safe.
In order to work more competently in Headstand, engage the transverse abdominis muscles of the core. Position the hips directly over the chin. And extend through the legs to get them as vertical as possible.
Whenever your body is upside down, the pituitary gland will be stimulated. Since this gland plays an important role in digestion and metabolism, it will maximise your energy levels. Aside from the digestive process getting a kick start, the colon and intestines are reoriented inside the body, allowing for healthier bowel function. Hormone production is also stimulated.
Blood Flow to the Eyes, Head, and Scalp
Inversions will send oxygen and nutrient-rich blood rushing to the head. Providing the eyes, head, and scalp with an extra dose of nourishment. Moreover this lowers the chance for macular degeneration in older practitioners. For those seeking a fuller head of hair, Headstand can actually stimulate more hair growth!
Improves Brain Functioning
Apart from washing the eyes with nutrients and giving you flowing locks, Headstands do something pretty amazing for your brain. The increase of oxygen levels facilitate a sharp increase in focus and reduces anxiety. Once again, the pineal gland (responsible for sleep-wake cycles) is also stimulated. So, if you want to sleep good tonight, you should totally get inverted for a couple of seconds.
Supported Headstand and regular Headstand are one way to fight depression. Returning back to the pituitary gland, it does more than aid in digestion. The gland also plays a role in releasing endorphins. Exercise or certain yoga postures have a unique way of flooding the body with these “feel good” hormones. Helping to vanquish depression and the symptoms of it. Furthermore, Headstands lower the overall levels of cortisol in the body and increase production of melatonin, dopamine, and serotonin – all of which regulate your mood.
So are you ready to go upside down for some amazing benefits?
Even if Headstand is not available to you right now, be sure to ask your friendly yoga teacher about modifications to help you get your hips above your heart. Otherwise, Downward Dog or Tripod pose are both good ways to start! Have fun, and remember to hang out in Headstand regularly for these incredible health benefits.