In this lesson we have introduced sirshasana the headstand pose1. This asana has favour-able and profound effects on the whole body; however, these effects are most notable on the brain. This topic has been included so that you will more easily understand and appreciate how sirshasana can help to improve the functioning of the brain, and in turn the health of the entire body.
The brain is the gateway between the mind and the physical body. Specifically, it can be considered as part of the physical body, but not part of the mind. Many people confuse the brain with the mind, though they are totally different entities. The brain is the switchboard between the more subtle realms of being and the physical body. It is the crossroads between the inner and outer world. It is the junction of individuality. Without it, each person would be totally helpless, unable to communicate with and act in the external environment. It is the controlling instrument or computer that allows each person to express himself in the world, to translate thoughts into actions. Without the brain you would be unable to talk, walk, sit, eat, read and a multitude of other activities that we take so much for granted and never think twice about. All these actions depend on the functioning of the brain. The better its condition the better we are able to act and express ourselves in life.
Inefficiency of the brain immediately implies reduction in our ability to remember, to concentrate, to intellectualize and so forth. Memory, concentration, the intellect and other similar abilities are mental functions, but you are unable to utilize them fully if the brain is not working properly. It is through the brain that thought is expressed. It is through the medium of the brain that our mental concentration can be utilized. It is through the instrumentality of the brain that the mental faculty of intellect can be expressed. So we emphasize the obvious: the brain is a very important organ. It is the means by which the mind expresses itself.
The brain is also the master coordinator of the millions of functions, large and small, that are continuously occurring in the physical body, from the growth of an individual hair on the top of your head to the heartbeat rhythm; from the reactions to the sensation of a mosquito bite to the digestion of food; from the power of speech to the action of the white blood cells in healing wounds. The brain never rests. Like the heart and lungs it works day and night. It is constantly on vigil; if this were not the case then the body would suffer irreparable damage. The brain is a biochemical computer of far greater complexity than the most sophisticated digital computer produced by modern science, and it is packed away in a small space.