Sirshasana (Headstand Pose) – Temporary restrictions

Sirshasana should not be done under the following circumstances:

  • If your bowels are excessively full.
  • If you feel physically tired.
  • If you have a headache or migraine. These conditions are often associated with a slightly elevated blood pressure in the brain; if you do sirshasana then the condition will be aggravated.
  • Directly after eating a meal (three to four hours should have elapsed before attempting the practice)
  • Until thirty minutes have elapsed after intense physical exercise, as the blood will contain excessive impurities associated with by-products of muscular activities. These impurities must firstly be eliminated from the blood in the normal manner through urination, perspiration or respiration. Sirshasana can be practised after other asanas since these do not build up the toxic levels of the blood; in fact if they are done correctly, they will reduce blood impurities.
  • During pregnancy or menstruation.
  • Sirshasana should be immediately terminated if you develop a headache, feel dizziness, perspire profusely, become very hot, have palpitations of the heart or if you feel generally uncomfortable.
  • Also discontinue the asana if you feel any suffocation.

These rules may seem rather numerous, but they are necessary so that you don’t harm yourself.

General advice

There are no specific age restrictions for practising sirshasana, but elderly people should be careful.

In the final pose, you may initially experience partial blockage of the nose. Try to persevere and you should find that the breathing becomes easier after a short period of time. Don’t breathe through the mouth. If breathing is too difficult then terminate the asana for a minute or so and then repeat.

Like all asanas, it is not necessary to use excessive energy to practise sirshasana. Intense effort is a definite sign that you are either doing sirshasana incorrectly or that you should not be doing it in the first place. Try to perform it with as much relaxation as possible.

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