Apart from seeing the world in a completely new perspective, standing on your head helps to reverse the effects of gravity, improve your mood and increase your upper body strength. A headstand, or shirshasana as it’s known in the yoga world, encourages you to slow down, breath and focus on the present. But before you begin doing a headstand, you must have strong arms, shoulders and back muscles to lift your head off the floor.
Do it for your heart
Standing on your head has a restorative effect on the autonomic nervous system (ANS), according to a small pilot study conducted on the benefits of inversion. The ANS regulates the functions of internal organs such as the heart. That means the simple (or not so simple) act of standing on your head can positively affect blood pressure and heart rate.
Do it for digestive system
Thanks once again to the positive effects inversion has on the ANS, standing on your head can help improve the stomach and intestines. Standing on your head flushes toxins and congested blood from the digestive organs, suggests Natural News. Intestines are cleansed by reversing the pull of gravity for faster processing. Fresh, warm blood stimulates the cells and helps improve the liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines and reproductive system.
Do it for strength
Just the act of engaging in a proper headstand forces you to place most of your body’s weight on your arms, shoulders and back muscles. They in turn work hard to keep the pressure off your head and neck. The longer you hold the position, the better the workout you will get.
If you’re a beginner, only remain in a headstand for 10 seconds, suggests the Yoga Journal, and gradually add five to 10 seconds each day until you can comfortably hold the pose for three minutes. Once you have reached three minutes, gradually add another five to 10 seconds until you can comfortably hold your position for five minutes.
Do it for your face
Want your skin to look great? You got it — stand on your head. The headstand is equivalent to having a facial because it stimulates blood flow. When you stand on your head, a rush of blood, fresh nutrients and oxygen flow naturally to your face. You’ll have better circulation, which in-turn will leave your skin rejuvenated, smoother, clearer, brighter and glowing.
Do it for your core
Bending, standing, sitting, bathing, twisting, putting on your shoes and dressing are some of the everyday actions that rely on the core. You may not even realize you’re using your core muscles until they become stiff and painful. Your core stabilizes your body, allows you to move in any direction and stops you from falling over when you’re standing still.
Weak core muscles contribute to slouching; good core muscles improve your posture. In fact, a strong core lessens the wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe more deeply, suggests Harvard Health.
And that’s where standing on your head comes in. Headstands strengthen deep core muscles since holding a straight headstand for an extended period, engages the obliques, the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis.
Safe modification for the headstand
While headstands have the most known benefits of any yoga pose, inverting oneself also has the most potential for serious injury if proper support is not maintained by the shoulders, arms and upper back.
To benefit from the headstand position, without risking injury to neck or spine, practice the “tripod headstand,” also known as sirsasana II. Use supportive blocks under your shoulders to take all of the weight off your head and neck. With a little practice, you’ll be turning your world upside down in no time.