In the beginning was a sound, OM. Atoms came from that sound or vibration, they cannot be divided. When they bond together they form molecules, which have an enormous amount of characteristics. For example H2 – hydrogen is an atom, O2 – water is an atom when they join to form H2O they have made a molecule. Molecules organise themselves and perform individual functions; they form organelles, the organs of cells. Many cells with the same function form tissue, tissues form organs, organs have many different tissues. Organs cannot live by themselves, they form complex systems i.e. digestive system, respiratory system etc. All the systems of the human body need to work together in a harmonious way so we can have life. The cells are the functional units of the body and a cell is complete.
The mystery of life expresses itself through us; if cells behaved like many human beings they would be dead within an hour! What cells have agreed to be is highly spiritual, when you become silent you can feel the intelligence of the cells or inner voice or true self. We perform asana (yogic posture) in our yogic practice to help us move into the silence. Asana are to prepare us for a higher awareness.
Sirshasan – the headstand brings many benefits physically, mentally and spiritually. It is practiced first out of the 12 basic postures in a Sivananda open class and is regarded as king posture out of an estimated 84,000 different asana. Turning ourselves upside down helps us to begin to look at things from a different perspective, open our hearts to different possibilities. In this pose the brain can draw a rich supply of oxygenated blood, it is important we feed this essential organ, no other posture equals the headstand in brining fresh arterial blood to the brain and sympathetic nervous system. As a result all body functions are toned and enhanced. Inverting the body enhances deep breathing increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Sirshasan strengthens the respiratory and circulatory system, disorders to the eyes, ears and nose and improved. Stagnant blood drains from the lower extremities preventing or giving relief to varicous veins and pressure is relived from the lumbar and sacral areas of the back. Memory and intellectual capacity are increased and improved concentration and focus are gained. It is said that a person practicing headstand on a regular basis will rarely suffer from any nervous disorders. It is one of the most powerful asana for body and mind, a virtual panacea for all human ills.
People with very high blood pressure or very low blood pressure, more than 4 months pregnant or who suffer with glaucoma should not practice this asana. If you are starting out always practice with your teacher and get the correct steps to come in and out of the posture safely. Remember yoga also teaches us patience and acceptance, there is certainly absolutely no rush with headstand, take your time to learn it and only move on to the next step if you feel completely confident to do so, remembering what the reasons are for doing this asana and the many benefits even the beginning stages of the pose brings.
Sirshasan is one of my favourite postures although of course we should love them all! Enjoy turning your roots upside down and looking at the world around you from a different point of view.
Om Loka Somasta Sunkhino Bhavantu
May all beings find harmony and balance