Turn everything around. Be upside down. In the yoga posture, the headstand or Shirsasana in Sanskrit – meaning “rooted into the earth – like in the “Mountain” or Tadasana, is like a tree whose roots reach straight for the heavens in the air.
Turning everything upside-down means we see the world upside down. This also brings increased focus, because inversions require all of our concentration, and improved circulation: flipping upside down quite literally moves things in a different direction, which helps move blood and lymphatic liquid through the body and towards our head. When the head is rooted into the earth it can’t be “in the clouds”. Feet, pointing towards the sky, are nurtured by spiritual and not intellectual energy. According to Swami Sivananda Radha (a German yogini):
“Being rooted in the sky means being nurtured by the Divine”.
The practice of the headstand invites the yogini to get deeper into the unknown dimension of the self. It means going down into ourselves and exploring those places we don’t visit everyday. Headstands involve a complete turnaround of the body, which gives a totally different perception and allow the yogini to see the world in a new way. With the head in the place of the feet, we are faced with the lowest layers of our psyche, those for which most of the time we can’t find the time nor the place.
In Western cultures, consciousness is in the head and we live disconnected from our spiritual roots. This asana requires a certain effort and sacrifice, because while holding it we can’t go anywhere else and we have to keep calm and be fully conscious. The balance and strength of this asana allow us
to understand that the weight comes from our own body, and the burdens in life are only ours. Seeing the world upside down offers a different perspective to see things from a different angle, perhaps the opposite to the one we are used to.
Becoming our own opponents sets us free from other external opponents. This asana is among the most important and difficult poses of yoga, because it requires a lot of concentration and effort, of body and mind. If you are interested in this asana and want to practise it with your body and mind, I invite you to read my blog post at http://3vedicas.es/yoga/shirsasana-tocando-el-cielo .
Please, avoid risks and always be supervised by a professional yoga instructor.
“When you lower your head into position on the mat there is no duality. But in the moment you raise your feet from the floor, you are experimenting the identity of the “I”; take that away and retain the oneness, the total awareness that must remain throughout the posture”. B.K.S. Iyengar