Supine Spinal Twist
March 27, 2015
Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff
March 27, 2015

Supported Headstand Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

Sanskrit

Salamba Sirsasana
(sah-LOM-bah shear-SHAHS-anah)
salamba = with support
sirsa = head

BENEFITS

  • Stimulates the brain and relieves stress
  • Tones and stimulates the abdominals organs
  • Improves cardiac output
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Strengthens the shoulders
  • Improves spinal alignment and strength

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Spine or shoulder pathologies
  • Neck injury
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart pathologies
  • High blood pressure
  • Menstruation

HOW TO

  1. Start in a tabletop position. Place your forearms on the floor and lace your fingers together.
  2. Place the crown of your head onto the floor between the palms, and cup the palms behind the back of the skull.
  3. Inhale, lift your knees off the floor, and walk the feet toward your elbows into an inverted “V” shape. Feel the weight of your body transferring into your shoulders and forearms. Be careful not to put excess weight on your neck and crown.
  4. As you exhale, firm your abdominals and lift your feet away from the floor. Draw both feet up toward the sky and stack the arches of your feet over the center of the pelvis. Align your pelvis over the crown.
  5. Engage the inner thighs to turn the legs inward slightly. Press the heels of your feet toward the ceiling. Firm the tailbone against the pelvis and draw the abdominals in.
  6. Hold this pose for 5-10 slow breaths.
  7. To release from Supported Headstand, exhale and draw the abdominals in for support. Then slowly draw your feet down onto the mat. Relax into Balasana (Child’s pose) for a counter stretch.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

  • Sirsasana (Tripod Headstand)

Modifications:

  • Utilize a towel under the crown for support.
  • Practice walking the knees into the chest and lifting the hips.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Keep the abdominals firm and press through the shoulders for support.
  • Squeeze the thighs together and press through the feet to extend the legs. Keep the shoulders active.
  • Be cautious not to sink weight into the neck.
  • Feel the body shift weight into the forearms and shoulders, as you walk the feet toward the torso.

VARIATIONS

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Straining the neck, shoulders, elbows, or spine
  • Sinking weight into the neck, instead of the shoulders and forearms
  • Collapsing the shoulders onto the neck