The Parsva Sirsasana, also known as Revolving Headstand, or Side Headstand, is the twisting version of the Headstand.
It gases several same potential benefits as the other inversions, including effects on your cardiovascular system (increased venous return, improved cardiac output, lower heart rate and blood pressure) and a flushing effect on your cerebrospinal fluid.
The coil formed through your torso produces a kriya that increases the flow of fluid through your detoxifying organs. These include your liver and spleen, as well as your lymphatics within the digestive system. Then the toxins from these organs are directed into the major vessels of your cardiovascular system and are eventually eliminated through your kidneys, lungs, and skin.
Parsva Sirsasana is derived from the Sanskrit name which is made up of three words — Parsva + Sirsa + asana:
- “Parsva” = “side or flank”
- “Sirsa” = “head”
- “asana” = “pose or posture”
As an inversion, the Parsva Sirsasana is considered to activate the Sahasrara Chakra. This chakra represents pure consciousness and allows the you to come in contact with your spiritual self. An open Sahasrara Chakra creates credibility, selflessness and stability. It also associated with higher knowledge, confidence, decisiveness, intuition and enlightenment. When you opens Sahasrara, you able to radiate divine love and reveal self-realization.
In this variation of the Sirsasana (Handstand), your trunk and legs are turned sideways on either side while balancing without disturbing the position of your head or hands. This yoga pose makes your spine strong and elastic.
Like other twisting poses, Parsva Sirsasana (Revolving Headstand) involves turning your shoulder girdle in one direction and your pelvic girdle in another direction.
Like all inversions, your bodyweight in this yoga pose is at least partially borne by your head and neck. It is dangerous to pressurize your cervical spine while turning it, as this may place undue pressure on your intervertebral discs and on your facet joints between your vertebral bodies. For this reason, your cervical spine must have freedom to move at all times, a natural curvature, and minimal pressure on your head. Most of your bodyweight should be carried in your shoulders keeping your neck relaxed.
|Known as:||Parsva Sirsasana, Revolving Headstand, Side Headstand Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||पार्श्व शीर्षासन|
|Total time:||20 to 30 seconds|
|Drishti:||Tip of nose|
|Chakra:||Sahasrara Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra, Manipura Chakra|
|Indications:||Insomnia, asthma, sinus problems|
|Preparatory poses:||Standing Cow Face Pose, Downward Dog Pose, Torso Stretch Pose, Shoulderstand Pose, Standing Forward Bend Pose, Intense Leg Stretch Pose, Salamba Sirsasana|
|Follow-up poses:||Downward-Facing Dog Pose, Child’s Pose, Hero Pose, Corpse Pose|
|Contraindications:||High blood pressure, or low blood pressure, Heart conditions, Neck or back injury, Glaucoma, Headache, Pregnancy (during the first trimester), Menstruation|
Benefits of Parsva Sirsasana — Revolving Headstand
- The fact that the body is upside down gives room for better blood circulation to the brain and eyes.
- Helps re-align the vertebral column, thus correcting any minor postural defects.
- The weight of the abdominal organs on the diaphragm encourages deep breathing to release more carbon dioxide and other toxins from the lungs.
- Puts pressure on the pituitary glands which helps to increase its efficiency, and in turn affects the efficiency of all other hormone-producing endocrine glands that are controlled by it.
- Parsva Sirsasana (Revolving Headstand Pose) stimulates the nervous system and strengthens the spine, shoulders, and neck.
- Solutions for anxiety, stress and anger management.
- Treatment of diabetes.
- Disorders with nervous system, reproductive system and glandular disorders.
- Prevention of Asthma
- Removes imbalance of menopause.
- Ramban treatment of headache and migraine.
Step by step Parsva Sirsasana — Revolving Headstand
- From the straight Headstand exhale and move your spine with a twist to your right; except your head and your hands turn your body sideways.
- Your legs and navel should face sideways 90 degrees to their original position. One should feel the stretch near the region of your floating ribs.
- Stay in this posture from 20-30 seconds with normal breathing.
- Exhale, come back to the straight Headstand. Take a breath, exhale and repeat this pose on your left side for the same length of time. Exhale and come to the straight position of Headstand.
Parsva Sirsasana (Revolving Headstand) for beginners
- Practice Parsva Sirsasana (Revolving Headstand) near a wall in the beginning.
- Press down through your forearms to stabilize your base and take the weight off your cervical spine. Come up into Headstand.
- Then turn your body so that the side of your hip and thigh remain on the wall.
- There will be a tendency for your one shoulder to turn back while your other follows the same-side hip and turns forward. Resist this tendency using the “Anatomy Engaging Techniques” steps described below.
- Keep your neck relaxed and neutral and return to Sirsasana.
- Carefully come down and rest in Balasana.
Anatomy Engaging Techniques
To get the most benefit from Parsva Sirsasana (Revolving Headstand) it is necessary to understand the biomechanics of your shoulder and pelvic girdles. The steps below describe which muscles to engage to complete it.
- When you twist your lower body, your shoulder which you are twisting away begins to move forward. Combat your rhomboids into Major and Minor to draw your scapula back and toward your midline.
- Flex your elbow by contracting your biceps and brachialis. Because your forearm is on the mat, the net effect of this action is to draw your shoulder back.
- By activating the superinator muscles of your forearms, squeeze your palms into the skull, mainly on your little finger side. Your biceps synergizes this action. You will balance this movement of your forarms in Step-2.
- The shoulder on the side that you are twisting toward will tend to move back in the direction of your twist.
- Engage your serratus anterior to counter this tendency by pulling your shoulder blade forward.
- Your teres major contributes to this action by drawing the edge of your scapula forward.
- Imagine pushing against a wall with your hand to get a feeling for bringing your shoulder blade back toward your front. Then press down onto your forearm by attempting to straighten your elbow. This activates your triceps.
- Press your mounds at the base of your index fingers into the skull by contracting your pronator teres and quadratus muscles of your forearms. It pronation force balances the supination of your forearms described in Step-1 and stabilizes your wrists.
- Externally rotate your upper arms by contracting your infraspinatus and teres minor muscles.
- Your posterior third of the deltoids contributes to this action.
- Draw your shoulders away from your ears to free your neck.
- Engage your lower third of the trapezius to pull your shoulder girdle upward on the back.
- Contract your adductor group of muscles on the insides of your thighs. The cue for this is to squeeze your knees together.
- Engage your adductors more forcefully on your leg that leads the turn. It synergizes the twist of your lower body.
- Contract your erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles to slightly arch your back on the side you are twisting toward, accentuating the turn of your body.
- The side of your back that is away from your twist stretches.
- Activate your quadriceps to straighten your knees.
- Your tensor fascia lata synergizes this action to stabilize your knee joint and, with your gluteus medius, internally rotates your thigh. The cue for contracting these muscles while in Headstand is to imagine pressing outward with the edges of your feet.
- Your adductor group (in Step-4) prevents your legs from actually abducting out to the side; however, your effort to engage these muscles activates their internal rotation component and turns your thighs back toward neutral.
- Engage your pelvic core. Contract your psoas on the side that is leading your twist to draw that side of your pelvis forward. The cue for this is to slightly flex your hips from the tops of your thighs.
- Then squeeze your opposite-side buttocks to activate your gluteus maximus by arching your back and tucking your tailbone under.
- Activating these muscles produces a “wringing,” or “coiling,” effect across your pelvis, tightening your sacroiliac ligaments. This stabilizes your entire pose and deepens your twist.
- Move your twist down the body and into your trunk.
- Tighten your oblique abdominals to turn into the twist.
- In addition to turning your body, engaging these muscles raises intra-abdominal pressure, producing the “air bag” effect and stabilizing your lumbar spine.
Precautions and contraindications
- Practice Parsva Sirsasana (Revolving Headstand) under the guidance of an instructor. Practice only when your instructor progresses.
- Be patient and take it slowly. It takes time to master this asana.
- Make sure you do it close to a wall for stability, especially if you are a beginner or have just started doing it.
- Avoid doing this during menstruation.
- The entire weight of your body is supported by the muscles of the hands, neck and shoulders. If you have spondylitis, please talk to your yoga instructor before starting this asana.
- People with heart disease, vertigo and high blood pressure also need to be vigilant.