Headstand II (Sirsasana II): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) - Fitzabout

The Headstand II, also known as Salamba Sirsasana II, is a highly advanced pose that activates your glands, increasing strength in your spine, arms, core, legs, and lungs.

Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) Base pose is a variation pose of Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana).

The difference between these two poses is that in the base pose, you have to balance your body on the crown of the head while supporting the head with your hands. Whereas in Salamba Sirsasana II, you place your palms on the floor, keeping your palms on the floor for support.

Therefore, this pose demands a high level of strength in the arms, especially at your elbows. That’s why mastering this pose can help you move on to even more challenging poses, like Sirsasana II Padmasana (Tripod Headstand Lotus Legs Pose), or Headstand III (Salamba Sirsasana III).

Information

Known as:Headstand II, Sirsasana II, Salamba Sirsasana II
Sanskrit name:शीर्षासन
IAST:Śīrṣāsana
Pronunciation:shear-SHAHS-anna
Type:Prone, inversion, arm balancing
Level:Advanced
Focus:Arm, shoulders, entire body
Total time:20 seconds to 3 minutes
Drishti:Tip of nose
Chakra:Sahasrara Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra
Indications:Scalp, hair follicle, lungs, heart, digestive system, mucus, sinus problems, common cold and cough, toxic gasses, shoulders, neck, core, biceps, and triceps
Counterposes:Balasana (Child Pose), Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose), Ear To Shoulder (Neck Rolls), Cow Face Pose (Hand Clasp Behind Back or Gomukhasana), Cat-Cow Pose, Hamstring Stretches
Preparatory poses:Standing Cow Face Pose, Downward-Facing Dog Pose, Torso Stretch Pose, Shoulderstand Pose, Standing Forward Bend PoseIntense Leg Stretch Pose, Headstand 1
Follow-up poses:Downward Dog Pose, Child’s Pose, Hero Pose, Corpse Pose
Contraindications:Hips, or pelvis, or spine, or shoulders, or neck, or rib cage, or head, or wrists injuries, high blood pressure, insomnia, heart problems, lung issues, bone density issues, fibromyalgia, weak blood vessels, glaucoma, retina issues, infections in ears-throat, or sinuses, epilepsy, spondylosis, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), pregnant women, menstrual cycle

Meaning

Sirsasana II

Sirsasana is derived from the Sanskrit name that comes from two words — Sirsa + Asana:

  1. Sirsa” = “head”
  2. Asana” = “pose or posture”
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It is believed to stand on the crown of the head while the legs are raised against gravity, hence the name. The pose is called king of Asana.

Benefits of Headstand II (Sirsasana II)

Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) has its foundation from the base pose – Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana), so the benefits can be referred to.

However, this yoga pose is a more challenging advanced practice and has additional physical and mental benefits as listed below:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Strengthens the arms, shoulders, neck, core
    • Stretches the spine, back, torso, and legs
    • Tones the biceps and triceps
    • De-stressed and flexible, the shoulders and deltoid
    • Helps to eliminate the toxic gasses
    • Massages the lungs, heart, and digestive organs
    • Increase the function of the lungs, heart, and digestive organs
    • Helpful for self-awareness, imagination, and intuition
    • Increase the blood and nutrients flow to the head, scalp, hair follicle
    • Helps in hair-growth
    • Improve digestive system and release the trapped gasses
    • Help avoid excess mucus, sinus problems, common cold and cough
    • Improve meditation while sitting for longer periods of time observing inner silence
  2. Mental Benefits:

Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) Practice Guide

Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) Practice Guide - Fitzabout
© image: Instagram/Elaine Fan

Step-by-step Instruction

Step-1

Lay a four-fold blanket on the floor and kneel near it.

Step-2

Place your right palm on the floor just outside your right knee and your left palm just outside your left knee. Your palms should be parallel to each other and your fingers should be straight towards the head. The distance between your palms on the floor should not exceed the width of your shoulders.

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Step-3

Bring your knees towards the head and place your crown in the center of the blanket.

Step-4

After securing the position of your head, raise your knees off the floor and stretch your legs straight. Keep your toes still close to your head and while keeping your back straight, press your ankles to the floor.

Step-5

Stretch the dorsal region of your spine while pushing the chest forward, and stay in this position for a few seconds. Take 3 to 4 breaths.

Step-6

While exhaling, take a slight swing from the floor and raise your legs while bending your knees. Your both feet should leave the floor simultaneously. When this position is secure, raise your legs, exhale, keep your toes facing upwards, tighten your knees and balance.

Step-7

In the position of balance, only your crown of the head and your both hands are on the floor. From your wrist to elbow, your forearms are to be kept perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other. From your elbows to shoulders, your upper arms should be parallel to the floor and parallel to each other.

Step-8

For those who can balance, follow the rest of the instructions and prompts in Headstand.

Step-9

Mastery of this variation of the Sirsasana is essential for learning other advanced postures such as Bakasana (Crane Pose), Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Rooster Posture), Galavasana (Flying Pigeon Pose), and Koundinyasana (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya).

Precautions and contraindications

The pose is an advanced yoga pose you should take care of while practicing Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II).

The precautions and contraindications to keep in mind while doing this pose are explained below:

1. Injury and surgery

Injuries to the hips, pelvis, spine, shoulders, neck, rib cage, head, wrists, etc. are a contraindication, and should not be practice this pose.

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With more pressure placed on your head, neck and shoulders, you must be careful during this practice even after the period of recovery from any injury in these parts. Since in this pose, the increased pressure on them can aggravate neck or shoulder injury.

Apart from this, you should also take into account whether you have had any surgery and the time taken to recover after a particular surgery.

2. High blood pressure

Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) where the head is below your heart can cause an increase in blood pressure. And if you are already suffering from high blood pressure, it may prove to be more harmful than beneficial.

When in doubt, consult your doctor prior to practice and under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher/instructor.

3. Insomnia

Practice this pose close to bedtime should be avoided, as it can over-stimulate the nervous system, resulting in sleep deprivation, insomnia or even disturbed sleep.

Also, people suffering from insomnia may not find Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) beneficial, as reverse gravity is working, which can lead to further irritation and discomfort.

4. Diseases and ailments

Avoid practicing this pose if you have a history of the following diseases and ailments:

  • Heart problems
  • Lung problems
  • Weak bones—bone density problems
  • Suffering from fibromyalgia
  • Weak blood vessels
  • Eye disease
  • Problems with the retina, infection (acute) ear-throat- or sinus
  • Epilepsy
  • Spondylosis
  • Digestive disorders such as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)

5. Women

Women should avoid this pose during pregnancy, unless you are aware of its consequences and have the right knowledge about yoga postures and breath-body awareness.

It is also generally advised to avoid Headstand II (Salamba Sirsasana II) during the menstrual cycle, as this downward flow of energy (called apana) in the yogic system is responsible and activated during the menstrual cycle.

For some people, this pose can bring on more discomfort and irritation, especially for those not comfortable with body-breathing awareness.

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Co-founder Anjali Kumari - FITZABOUT

Written by Anjali Kumari. She is a certified yoga instructor, Diploma in Make up, Nails and Beauty, Diploma in Nutrition, Food, Science and Menu Planning. Anjali is the destination of choice for the latest updates, tips and resources in beauty, health and wellness, and all topics that mean the most to today’s woman. Whether it’s advice from a trusted expert or a DIY tutorial, she has it all. She is passionate and obsessive about science and how it can be applied in daily lifestyle. According to her, food is the best medicine and proper nutrition is the key to achieving good health and beauty. When she is not working, she likes to spend quality time with family and friends. She loves creating innovative, healthy recipes and healthy choices for foods to promote good health.

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