Perhaps you are a woman who is in the midst of your monthly flow. Perhaps your neck is a little tweaked or your sinuses are acting up. There are any number of reasons why you might not want or be able to do the King of Poses, Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1). In the Iyengar system, however, it is pivotal to one’s daily practice:
“Regular practice of Sirsasana makes healthy pure blood flow through the brain cells.[*] This rejuvenates them so that thinking power increases and thoughts become clearer. The asana is a tonic for people whose brains tire quickly. It ensures a proper blood supply to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain. Our growth, health and vitality depend on the proper functioning of these two glands.
People suffering from loss of sleep, memory and vitality have recovered by the regular and correct practice of this asana and have become fountains of energy. The lungs gain the power to resist any climate and stand up to any work, which relieves one from colds, coughs, tonsilitis, halitosis (foul breath) and palpitations. It keeps the body warm. Coupled with Sarvangasana movements, it is a boon to people suffering from constipation. Regular practice of Sirsasana will show marked improvement in the haemoglobin content of the blood…
…Regular and precise practice of Sirsasana develops the body, disciplines the mind and widens the horizons of the spirit. One becomes balanced and self-reliant in pain and pleasure, loss and gain, shame and fame and defeat and victory.”
– “Light on Yoga,” by B. K. S. Iyengar
If Head Stand is not for you on any given day, consider substituting in one of the following poses:
1. Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with head support
2. Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with head support
3. Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with head support
When doing this pose, be sure to build the blocks up to meet your head rather than collapse the pose to bring your head to the blocks.
5. Rope Shirshasana (Head Stand)