The headstand is one of the most popular yoga poses. Most beginners have the sirsasana (or headstand) on their yoga goal list when they sign up for a class, and they go above and beyond to master it. But apart from making killer poses for Instagram, do you know any other benefits of headstands?
Are headstands good for your core? The headstand is one of the yoga poses that engages your core the most. When you do a headstand, you rely on your core to not only hold your legs up but to also maintain your balance in the headstand position.
The headstand is not only beneficial for your core. This pose has more health advantages than you can imagine. In this article, you’ll learn all about headstands and how they can help to improve both your physical and mental health. Get a reliable yoga mat before you start.
Are Headstands Good for Your Core?
Sirsasana, or the headstand, is regarded as the king of yoga poses due to its many benefits – the top among them being improved core strength. For you to be able to do a headstand, you need to have incredible core, arm, shoulder, and back strength.
According to “The Benefits of Headstands,” by Leigha Butler from Livestrong, when done correctly, the headstand engages the upper back and shoulder muscles. The trapezius and deltoid muscles also contract to protect your neck and head in the pose.
If your shoulders are too weak, the headstand can compress the vertebrae of the cervical spine leading to pain and permanent damage. Therefore, if you’re a beginner, it’s best to strengthen your back, core, and shoulder muscles before you try the headstand.
The abdominal muscles are also engaged when you are in a headstand position. This pose works your obliques, transverse abdominus, and the rectus abdominus. If you try a headstand and you notice you have a poor form such as flexed hips or bent legs, this is an indication that you have a weak core.
Someone who has a strong core can lift their hips directly over the chin and extend the hip flexors until their legs are completely vertical. Your core is strengthened as you lift both legs to get into a headstand position and as you bend both down to get out of the pose.
Is it Healthy to Do Headstands?
At first glance, the headstand doesn’t seem like the most natural or healthy thing to do. Your body naturally stays in an upright position. So why would you try to have it upside down?
Apart from strengthening your core, the headstand has a plethora of benefits that you may want to take advantage of once you can perfect the pose. Some of these benefits include:
- It Provides Stress Relief.
Do You Yoga refers to the headstand as a cooling posture. According to this site, when you’re in a headstand position, you draw your attention inwards, which is excellent if you’re experiencing anxiety, worrisome thoughts, stress, or fear.
If you combine a headstand with long, slow breathing, it can be an excellent remedy for stress. Get your yoga mat here before you start
- It is Excellent for Digestion.
Butler explains when you’re in a headstand position, the pituitary gland, which is responsible for metabolism, is activated. It’s also essential for regulating hormone production and water absorption into the kidneys.
The headstand is perfect for individuals who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems because this pose reorients the intestines and colon, thereby encouraging bowel movements.
Registered yoga teacher Lisa Mitchell says that headstands are great for your digestion because they increase body heat and cleanse the intestines. She explains that, when the body is in an upside-down position, the intestines are cleared by the reversed pull of gravity, and congested blood in the colon is released.
- It Helps Keep Facial Skin Beautiful.
Headstands are also great for your facial skin. When you’re in an upside-down position, blood flows to your cheeks and forehead, increasing oxygenation in these areas. This increased blood circulation maintains the youth of your skin cells, which is terrific because you get to enjoy youthful skin! Who wouldn’t want that?
However, be careful not to stay in a headstand position for too long. It’s possible to experience a feeling of broken blood vessels in the face if you overdo it. Aim for about ten breaths or one to three minutes, but not longer than that.
- It Strengthens Your Focus and Eye Function.
Posing in a headstand position is also good for your focus. The upside-down position increases the circulation of blood to your brain, which in turn improves brain function and focus. Furthermore, the mere act of holding this complicated pose takes focus and coordination.
In addition to this, the headstand allows blood circulation to your eyes, which is beneficial for preventing conditions such as macular degeneration. You will need to use a yoga mat while ding your headstand
- It May Be Your Answer to Longer Hair.
Headstands are also great for increasing blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. As a result, there’s an increased delivery of nutrients to your hair follicles, which may potentially aid in hair growth.
However, before you attempt to depend on this pose to grow out your hair, you should know that there’s no scientific proof that headstands can make your hair grow. The nourishment for your scalp is, however, a benefit worth reaping.
- It can Help Reduce Fluid Build Up in the Legs, Ankles, and Feet.
Edema is common among people who stand or sit for many hours in a day, and it can be quite uncomfortable. Headstands are a great way to prevent feet swelling caused by water retention. When you stand on your head, gravity works against your body fluids, thereby preventing edema.
However, it’s advisable to seek medical attention if your edema is persistent to know the real cause and get the right treatment.
- It Activates Your Lymphatic System.
Maintaining a headstand position also activates your lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing waste from your blood. Therefore, when you’re in an upside-down position, your body is in a better position to get rid of toxins, which is vital for your overall health.
- It Improves Flexibility.
A headstand is a pose that requires excellent flexibility from head to toe. You use all your muscles to get into this pose. The arms and shoulders work to hold you in place, your core is vital for getting in and out of position as well as maintaining the pose, and your legs must be strong enough to move in the different positions you desire.
As a result, the more you practice this pose, the better you get in other poses because of improved flexibility. However, you need to ensure you’ve learned the basics before trying this pose to do it right and enjoy all the benefits.
Headstands are one of the poses that require ultimate core strength. It works all your core muscles from the obliques to the rectus to the transverse abdominus. And that’s not all; the headstand also has incredible benefits for your entire body.
Yoga offers fantastic benefits to your overall well-being. Mastering the headstand can provide you with the flexibility that you need to conquer other, more challenging yoga poses.
If you’re good at this pose and rarely practice it, it may be time to start reaping the benefits. If you haven’t mastered it, be patient, and learn the basics first. Attempting a headstand without experience can lead to serious injury. Work with a yoga trainer until you’re ready to do it on your own.