The headstand is considered the king of yoga poses because of its many benefits. When I mention that we are going to practice them in a class it is usually received with a mixed reaction from the class, with some students preferring to stick to slightly less challenging inversions. But I truly believe that if you have time for only one pose in a day, this is the one to do!
Headstands improve brain function, increase upper-body strength and tone many areas of the body including those of the arms, upper back and core.
Headstands stimulate and provide refreshed blood to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. These glands are vital to our well being, and are considered the master glands that regulate all other glands in the body (thyroid, pineal, and adrenals).
Headstands stimulate the pituitary gland, the gland which is responsible for releasing endorphins – the body’s “happy” hormones. This helps to alleviate sadness and lethargy associated with depression. Headstands also reduce the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Being upside down increases blood flow to the brain, stimulating production of melatonin, dopamine and serotonin, all hormones that help regulate mood. Headstands will almost always put a smile on your face and give you a new perspective on the world! If you feeling a bit down or sluggish get into a headstand!
According to the editors at Yoga Journal, one of the benefits of a headstand is that it “calms the brain.” and “helps relieve stress and mild depression.”
Headstands increase digestive energy and increase body heat. The intestines are cleansed by reversing the pull of gravity and they can help relieve constipation.
Headstands strengthen deep core muscles. To hold a straight headstand for any period of time you must engage the obliques, the rectus abdominus and the transverse abdominus.
So, come on, if Sirshasana isn’t part of your yoga repertoire, give it a go! But make sure it’s under the supervision of an experienced teacher until you’re sure you practising safely.