March '08 Health

Happy Headstands
by Sheryl Walters

In his book, Yoga Mala, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois describes the pleasure of headstand (which he calls, ‘the king of all asanas’) by saying, "Just as people feel the sweetness of sugar by eating it, so too will they experience the happiness of this asana by practicing it."

Personally, headstand is one of my favorite yoga postures. I find it to be a place that is both calming and meditative. It is also the last posture of my Ashtanga yoga practice, so I know all of the hard postures are finished and I can chill out upside down and get ready for my final relaxation.

I always think of the time that I was doing yoga in India and the teacher told us that if we did a headstand for 3 hours per day, we would conquer aging and become enlightened. I have reached 8 minutes a couple of times...

It is very rare that we are able to see the world upside down, and regularly viewing the world from this angle can indeed bring a variety of amazing benefits to our lives.

Gorgeous, Younger Looking Skin
Turning ourselves upside down is not only an amazing practice for health…but for beauty.
Headstands can reduce facial wrinkles, and if practiced regularly, is a natural 'face-lift'. Inverting reverses the effects of gravity and allows the skin to rest in the other direction. This orientation also increases the circulation to the face, bringing much needed nutrients and oxygen to rejuvenate and remove wrinkle-causing toxins. The result is smoother, clearer, brighter & glowing skin.

Thicker Hair, Fewer Grays
Due to the increase in blood supply and nutrients to the hair follicles in the scalp, headstand can actually convert gray hair back to its natural color and at the very least, it will certainly delay the onset of gray hair. Balding can also be prevented or slowed, and thicker, healthier hair is produced.

Balanced Hormones and Endocrine System
Headstand stimulates and provides refreshed blood to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. The health and strength of these glands are absolutely vital to our wellbeing, as they are the master glands and regulate the functioning of all the other glands in the body including the sexual hormones (better sex!), the thyroid, pineal, and the adrenals.

Additionally, the powerful stress releasing effects of the headstand (you can’t really be depressed if you’re standing on your head!) further rebalance the adrenal glands so physical and emotional health is improved.

Better Circulation
Headstands exercise the heart and encourage venous return. When you’re upside down, the heart constantly has to pump blood upward to the brain, giving the heart a rest and reducing heart strain.

Increased Brain Function
Headstand soaks the brain cells with fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients increases your thinking power, clarity, memory, concentration, and the sensory faculties. Brain tissues do not degenerate with regular practice.

Balanced Nervous System
Research has shown that an ischemic stroke never results for those who consistently do headstand! (If nothing else, that will get me on my head.) It can also prevent the occurrence of atherosclerotic, Parkinson's disease, and other diseases of the nervous system. Senile changes in brain are prevented.

It calms the brain and helps relieve stress and depression. It is a centering, calming and soothing pose.

A Healthy Lymphatic System
Headstand encourages the drainage of lymphatic fluid so the whole body is regularly detoxified.

Strong Immune System
Headstands are one of the postures proven to strengthen your immune system.

Respiratory System

Headstands in yoga encourage deep breathing and create healthier lung issue.

Digestive System

Standing on our heads tones and cleans digestive organs, cleansing congested blood and toxins. Fresh warm blood invigorates the cells and can help people overcome problems of the liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines and reproductive system.

Musculo skeletal system
Headstand strengthens the spine, neck, shoulders and arms. The muscular system of the abdomen and legs are also toned.

Read more on the benefits of headstand at:

Besides being an avid Ashtangi, Sheryl Walters writes a blog on all the best information for naturally looking, feeling and staying young.

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