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What are the Benefits of Headstands in Yoga

Yoga’s Headstand is called the king of asanas for a reason. This full-inversion pose affects your cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine and lymph systems as well as your mind. Headstand is one of the first 12 poses in Hatha yoga and also one of the most challenging. Meeting that challenge, however, comes with many benefits.

Physical Benefits

According to B.K.S Iyengar, who wrote "Light on Yoga", Headstand, along with Shoulderstand will cure just about everything -- from common colds and halitosis to constipation and memory loss. Whether or not that is true, Headstand still carries a wealth of measurable benefits. Fresh blood streams to your brain while gravity stimulates the blood return in your veins, giving your heart a rest. Headstand relieves pressure in your lower back and your lower body’s veins, particularly those in your legs. Headstand gives your lungs a workout, making you breathe deeper. And with the increased vitality you enjoy from Headstand, your everyday life and your ability to have a good night's sleep will improve markedly.

Mental Benefits

Headstand benefits your mind by sharpening your concentration and your senses. Because of the challenging nature of the pose, Headstand helps you overcome fear. A regular yoga practice that includes Headstand can result in improved memory and sharper, clearer thinking. It can give you a renewed vitality, steadiness and an overall feeling of calm. Headstand can also enhance your overall mood and your mental balance, improving your ability to succeed in a variety of situations.

Spiritual and Pranic Benefits

Headstand comes with spiritual and energetic, or pranic, benefits. Prana is the life force that flows through your body, a force that includes sexual energy. Headstand enhances your overall prana, but it also transforms the sexual energy into spiritual energy, known as ojas. An increase in ojas, in turn, can improve your spiritual practices such as meditation. Headstand also offers a whole new way of looking at the world by flipping you upside down.

Safety Above All

You must be taught Headstand by a qualified yoga instructor before attempting this pose on your own because Headstand’s benefits can be outweighed by its risks if you’re not practicing the pose correctly. The pose requires strong shoulders and upper back for support and to offset the pressure the pose puts on your neck. Use blocks, or even the wall, if you need additional support to perform the pose. Because Headstand requires optimum concentration and strength, the success of the pose depends largely on your mental, emotional and physical state of the moment. You might not have what it takes to do headstand on a given day. Rather than force yourself into an incorrect posture and risk injury, come back to it when you’re ready.

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About the Author

Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible." She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.

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