Eka Pada Sirsasana (aa-KAH pah-DAH shear-SHAHS-anna), also known as One Legged Headstand Pose, that stretches the hamstrings, glutes, hips, and to maintain the hold it requires a good amount of stretch.
|Known as:||Eka Pada Sirsasana, One Legged Headstand Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||एक पाद शीर्षासन|
|IAST:||Eka Pāda Śīrṣāsana|
|Pronunciation:||aa-KAH pah-DAH shear-SHAHS-anna|
|Focus:||Upper body especially arms, shoulders, and core muscles|
|Total time:||5-30 plus seconds|
Downward, towards the ground
|Chakra:||Sahasrara (Crown) chakra|
|Indications:||Upper body strength and stability, cognitive function, mental clarity, lymphatic system, toxins, immunity, stress, anxiety, relaxation|
|Counterposes:||Balasana (Child’s Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Savasana (Corpse Pose)|
|Preparatory poses:||Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana), Headstand Prep (Sirsasana Prep), Shoulder Stand Prep (Sarvangasana Prep), Plank Pose (Phalakasana), Handstand Prep (Adho Mukha Vrksasana Prep)|
|Follow-up poses:||Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Balasana (Child’s Pose), Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Matsyasana (Fish Pose), Savasana (Corpse Pose)|
|Contraindications:||Neck injuries, Shoulder injuries, High blood pressure, Menstruation, Glaucoma, Pregnancy (during pregnancy, especially in the later stages)|
The Eka pada Sirsasana is derived from the Sanskrit name which is made up of four words — Eka + Pada + Sirsa + asana:
- “Eka” = “one”
- “Pada” = “leg”
- “Sirsa” = “head”
- “asana” = “pose or posture”
This variation of Sirsasana is done by lowering one leg on the floor in front of the head, keeping the other leg perpendicular.
The Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand) combines an inversion with stretches of the fore-and-aft bradycardia, hamstrings, and gluteal of the foot. This means that there are three different stories happening in the pose: an inversion, a leg that is lowered to the ground, and a leg that rests in the air.
Instructions To Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand)
Prepare for Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand) with poses such as Intense Side Stretch Pose and Monkey Pose to stretch your hamstrings, gluteals, and hip flexors. Practice the Psoas Awakening poses to gain conscious control of your core pelvic musculature, including your psoas and gluteals.
- After staying in Salamba Sirsasana (Handstand) to the best of your ability, exhale, move your right leg to the floor in front of your head.
- While your right leg is being lowered and resting on the floor, your left leg should be held up vertically like in the Sirsasana. In the beginning, your neck feels tremendous strain. Your left leg is also dragged down forwards. To overcome this, keep your leg tight at your knees and stretch your muscles behind the thighs of your both legs. Tighten your muscles of the lower median portion of your abdomen as well.
- Your knees and toes of both legs should be in a straight line and should not be tilt sideways.
- Stay in this posture for 10 to 20 seconds with a deep breathing. Exhale, lift your right leg up to Headstand (Sirsasana).
- After staying in Sirsasan for some time, lower your left leg on the floor and after keeping it on the floor for the same time, exhale and come back to Sirsasana.
- While raising your legs down and up, keep them straight and do not bend at your knees. If your knees are bent then you loses the balance of your head.
Note: This is a difficult pose, so it may not be possible to touch the floor at the beginning. Gradually as the legs become more elastic and the back becomes firmer, the feet will touch and then rest on the floor without losing head balance. This asana also makes the walls of the neck and abdomen strong. The abdominal organs shrink and are made to function well.
Anatomy Engaging Techniques
- Combine your muscles that extend your leg that remains in the air and back. Your body tends to lean forward when you lower your other foot. Counter this by engaging your gluteus maximus and hamstrings to lift your leg and extend your hip. Tuck your tailbone in and under (retroverting this) to accentuate this action.
- Arch your back from the lumbar region. It engages your erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles.
- Take care not to use the muscles of your cervical spine to hold your body upright, because this can strain your neck.
- This is possible to lower your foot using only the weight of your leg itself (gravity); however, this tends to collapse your hip and side body. Instead, actively engage your hip flexors to bend your hip.
- This stabilizes your lumbar spine from the action of your psoas, which combines with your quadratus lumborum to support your vertebral column.
- Your pectineus and adductors longus and brevis synergize your psoas in flexing your hip.
- Contract your quadriceps of your raised leg to straighten your knee.
- Note that your thigh tends to externally rotate due to the contracting your gluteus maximus described in Step-1.
- Engage your tensor fascia lata to internally rotate the thigh; The cue for this is to imagine pressing the outside of your foot against a wall.
- Your adductor magnus prevents your leg from abducting out to the side, yet the force of the contraction rolls your thigh inward. This brings your kneecap to a neutral position.
- Your forearms and shoulders form your foundation of the posture.
- Slightly pronate your forearms so that the mounds at the base of your index fingers press into your skull. This activates your pronators teres and quadratus.
- Press the sides of your forearms into the mat evenly by engaging your triceps. Then externally rotate your upper arms by contracting your infraspinatus and teres minor muscles, as well as your posterior portion of the deltoids.
- Activate your lower third of the trapezius to lift your shoulders away from your ears.
- Extend your knee of the lowered leg by contracting your quadriceps.
- Your gluteus maximus of this leg is stretching and thus pulls your thigh into slight external rotation. Counter this by engaging your tensor fascia lata. The cue for activating this muscle is to attempt to drag your foot out to the side on the mat. Your foot remains fixed, but your thigh rolls inward, bringing your kneecap back to neutral.
- Visualize your gluteus minimus engaging at the side of your pelvis to synergize flexing and internally rotating your hip.
- Activate your peroneus longus and brevis muscles to evert your ankle and tibialis anterior to dorsiflex it (draw your top of the foot toward your shin).
- Engage your tibialis posterior to balance these actions and create a slight inversion force at your joint. This dynamizes your arch of the foot and stabilizes your ankle.
Benefits of Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand)
- Regular practice of Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand) leads to healthy pure blood flow through the brain cells. This leads to their rejuvenation, which increases the power of thinking and clarifies thoughts.
- The asana is a tonic for people whose mind gets tired quickly. This ensures proper blood supply to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain. The growth, health and vitality depends on the proper functioning of these two glands.
- Individuals suffering from loss of sleep, memory and vitality have recovered from regular and proper practice of this yoga pose and have become fountains of energy. The lungs gain the power to resist any climate and stand up to any task, which relieves cold, cough, tonsillitis, bad breath (bad breath) and palpitations. It keeps your body warm.
- With Sarvangasana movements, it is a boon for individual suffering from constipation.
- Regular practice of this yoga pose will show a significant improvement in the amount of hemoglobin in the blood.
- When suffering from high or low blood pressure, it is not appropriate to start with Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand) and Sarvangasana.
- Regular and precise practice of Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand) develops the body, disciplines the mind and expands the horizon of the soul. A person becomes balanced and self-reliant in pain and pleasure, loss and gain, shame and fame and defeat and victory.
Precautions and contraindications
Following main precautions and contraindications that you should keep in mind while performing Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand):
- Individual should refrain from practicing this yoga pose suffering from —
- In some severe cases, individual with excessive impure blood may find these impurities going into the brain while performing this yoga asana.
- It is not advisable to do this yoga asana during menstruation or pregnancy.
- If you start experiencing dizziness, headache, excessive sweating, or heart palpitations, then you should stop doing Eka pada Sirsasana (One Legged Headstand) immediately.