HOW TO CARRY OUT SIRSASANA
Sirsasana or shirshasana is one of the most famous poses.
In sanskrit sirsa or shirsa means “head” and asana means “position”, for which this position is literally translated as “the position on the head”.
Although it is a very important position, it is not mentioned in any of the main texts of Hatha Yoga, including Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Shiva Samhita.
However it is to be understood that this position should be carried out, at least the first few times, under the supervision of an expert teacher, hence we think that its absence from the written texts is due to the fact that it was handed down orally, from guru to disciple.
HOW TO CARRY OUT SIRSASANA
Before beginning to carry out this pose it is good to know that it is a position for intermediate practitioners and experts, therefore it requires, at least for the first few times, to be carried out with great attention and preferably under the guidance of an expert teacher.
It is not suitable for those who have just started and it is very dangerous to try to do it alone.
– Before starting create the resting surface. You can fold in half your yoga mat to create a slightly thicker surface, as a base for supporting the head and hands, but attention it must be neither too soft nor too hard and must be very stable.
– Sit in Vajrasana, bring yourself forward and place your elbows on the ground under the shoulders, so that the arms are perpendicular to the ground. While keeping your elbows still, form a triangle with the forearms and intertwine your fingers forming a cup, with your thumbs facing upwards.
– This triangle is your support base: it is very important to keep it stable in order to carry out the position correctly.
– At this point place your head.
– Place your head just in front of the hands, in a way that the fingers are on the rear part of the head above the nape (remember the cup?). The area of the head that must be in contact with your hands is between the nape and the forehead, up to a maximum of 2-3 cm above the hairline.
– After resting your head, fix your hands in a way that they surround and support well the rear part of the head.
– Lengthen your legs. Placing your toes on the ground, find your balance and lengthen the legs. The weight of the body is supported by the head, by the two arms and the tips of the feet.
– Slowly in small steps, bring your feet closer to the head until the back is in a vertical position. Stay in this position for a few seconds.
– At this point raise your legs.
– Prepare yourself now to complete the position slowly by bending the legs at the level of the knees and approaching the thighs as close as possible to the chest.
– Try to bring all the weight of the body on the arms and the head. Raise from the ground first one foot and then the other, maintaining your balance and the spine straight.
– Only when you feel stable, raise calmly upwards both legs, leaving them bent and always checking your balance, untill they will be vertical and straight.
– Form a single vertical line.
– Keep your hipbone/pelvis aligned with the rest of the body and do not push it forward or backwards, because it could unbalance the whole body.
– Try to relax your feet and legs.
The important thing is that the weight of the body is equally distributed between the elbows, forearms and head and not on the neck.
– The shoulders are kept away from the ears and the arms are very stable.
– Breathe normally and maintain the pose untill you can do so comfortably.
To exit from Sirsasana, slowly bend the legs and rest the feet on the ground, as slowly as possible. Keep the head in contact with the mat and rest in Balasana (child pose) for at least one minute before sitting.
THE CONTRAINDICATIONS OF SIRSASANA
This pose is a difficult pose and should not be taken lightly and especially must be done slowly and calmly under the supervision of an experienced teacher and certainly not at the first yoga lesson. It can bring serious damage for which pay lots of attention.
This position is contraindicated:
- During the menstrual period, Sirsasana is deemed useful to manage the energy associated with menstruation, but in some women it may cause an increase in blood flow; for which the best choice is always to assess what is best for your body.
- For those suffering from hypertension, cerebral arteriosclerosis, serious cardiological problems (cardiac decompensation and ventricular arrhythmias), infections or inflammation of the area of the head (conjunctivitis, otitis, chronic glaucoma), slipping of the intervertebral discs.
- Sirsasana should be practiced with a lot of attention from those who suffer from osteoporosis and should be suspended temporarily in the case of dizziness, headache, excessive tiredness.