Urdhva Padmasana (Headstand Lotus Pose)

In Sanskrit urdhva means ‘raised’ and padma means ‘lotus’. The English translation of this asana is variously given as ‘raised lotus pose’, ‘bound headstand’, ‘headstand lotus pose’ and ‘inverted lotus pose’. It is an asana that can only be practised by those who have mastered both basic sirshasana and padmasana.

Technique

Take the final pose of basic sirshasana.

Ensure that you are perfectly balanced.

Then fold the legs into padmasana.

This is the final pose.

Breathe slowly and deeply.

Stay in the final pose for as long as is comfortable.

Then carefully unfold the legs and straighten them into sirshasana again.

With control, lower the legs to the ground.

Stay in the kneeling pose for a short duration and then do tadasana, the counterpose.

Breathing

Breathe as described for sirshasana.

Comparison with basic sirshasana

Urdhva padmasana is much more stable than sirshasana in the final pose. It is therefore a very useful asana for long periods in the inverted position. However, greater care must be taken to ensure that one does not lose balance, since the feet are no longer available to prevent vulnerable parts of the body hitting the floor in the case of a fall. For this reason, we strongly suggest that you do not practise urdhva padmasana until you are able to do sirshasana without even the slightest difficulty; you should feel as comfortable in the inverted position as you do on your own two feet. If you want to practise urdhva padmasana but are not sure of yourself, then do it near a wall.

Urdhva padmasana gives basically the same benefits as sirshasana, except that the drainage of blood from the legs is impeded. It is therefore worthwhile practising sirshasana for a few minutes before doing urdhva padmasana.

General Details

The following advice applies to all three variations of sirshasana. Furthermore, most of the information given for sirshasana also applies to these variations1.

Place of practice

Practise in the middle of an uncluttered room or close to a wall.

Awareness

Pay attention to the physical movement necessary to raise and lower the body to and from the inverted position, and on maintaining balance.

Counterpose

The counterpose for all the variations is the same as for sirshasana, that is, tadasana.

Loss of balance

The aim is not to lose balance, but if you do you should try to fall as described for sirshasana. For urdhva padmasana, please refer to the heading in this discussion entitled ‘Comparison with Sirshasana’.

Precautions and limitations

Those people who should not do these variations of sirshasana are the same as those listed in our previous lesson on sirshasana.

Under certain circumstances these variations must not be attempted. Refer to ‘Temporary restrictions’ as given for sirshasana’.

Benefits

The benefits are generally as given for sirshasana: profound and numerous.

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