The headstand section from the previous post.
WHERE TO PLACE THE HEAD IN HEADSTAND
WHERE TO PLACE THE HEAD IN HEADSTAND
So this started out as a conversation between Ryan and Chiara and myself on fb in relation to a passage on Sirsasana in Yoga Makaranda (part II)/Salutations to the teacher and the Eternal One.
"19. SIRSHASANA--HEAD STAND
This asana is so called because the head supports the whole body. This is also variously called KAPHALASANA, BRAHMASANA. These three, however, differ to some extent both in the technique and in the benefits derived. These differences have to be learnt under personal instructions form a Guru".
Sunday at 19:35
Anthony Grim Hall Hi Ryan Ramaswami refers to them in his books briefly. Basically saying the same thing as K, but then Ramaswami mentions in a comment on my blog that he was given a document to copy for his Indian Review articles, while a trustee at KYM in the 80's, that seems to have been Salutations to the teacher the and the Eternal one (since released by AG Mohan as Yoga Makaranda part II). He does say though that it's to do with the different parts of the head. I remember a discussion a while back about which is the best part of the head to place on the ground in headstand (see claudias article below), the crown, a little forward or a little back, something to do with that perhaps. Ramaswami does say that Kapalasana ( skull posture) is unsupported, the mukta hasta sirsasana variations in Ashtanga second series with the palms on the mat.
"Sirsasana, which is also known as kapalasana and Brahnasanam, depending upon the contact part of the head on the ground (this is however to be learned from great yogis who could only tell the difference) leads itself to a variety of vinyasas". Sirsasanam Indian Review Article 16 (Written when trustee of KYM).
" ...you will be balancing on both your palms and your crown. this posture is called mukta hasta sirsasana, or the headstand with the hands released. It is also know as kapala asana, or the skull pose". p174 The Complete Book of Vinyasa yoga Srivatsa Ramaswami
My own thinking is that in some variations you might want your head a little forward of the crown (backbending in headstand) while in others a little behind the crown (forward folds in headstand). You would only do this for those variations though and not for a long stay in regular headstand. This might be why it's mentioned that you should only learn from a great guru. Best I can do.
Sunday at 22:51
Ryan C. Leier Thanks Anthony. You are so helpful. I appreciate it very much. I went to Iyengar's library to the old books and couldn't find anything yet (we had been discussing earlier if Iyengars library had a 1st edition of yogasanagalu). While watching Danny Paradise practice (AMAZING!) I saw him do headstand pretty much on his forehead. I am interested to see so many Ashtangis on the forehead and Iyengarian's (Is that a word?) on the crown.
Yesterday at 09:05 · Like
"I have been taught to extend one hande with the thumb in the ear to the middle finger onto the head, and the pther hand with the thumb on the nose to the middle finger on the head, where they touch is where you should stand".
Was quite amused to find myself a sitting here trying that out, must have looked quite ridiculous
|Scarf because our boiler's packed up, no heating so a chilly practice this morning.|
Anthony Grim Hall Hi Guys just got back from work. There is that thing in Ashtanga where most of the weight is taken on the arms, perhaps that's where Danny is coming from....he looks light as a feather too. Like you Chiara I tend to do my long stays on the crown of my head but I seem to remember Ramaswami mentioning it's better to place it a little further back ( i will need to double check this), not too much but just a little further back.
13 hours ago · Like · 1
Some confusion about where the crown of the head is. I think in the discussion above we're referring to the crown as the top of the head, the highest point, but the crown is actuality that place where the hair swirls around, just back a little from the top of the head (See also David Coultar's Anatomy of Hatha Yoga for a long discussion).
Claudia clears things up in this post over at her blog over at he blog Ashtanga Yoga mother Earth
Crown Vs. Bregma: Two Types of Headstands?
"As a reference: The crown of the head is located in the area where your hair spirals out as opposed to the bregma part of the head which (see yellow skull image) is the area where the skull joins the frontal to the parietal bones. This area is soft for babies as the suture does not harden for a while after being born.
"...natural response to the crown headstand is to hold the body straight, to keep the lower back flat."
"In the bregma headstand it is more natural to permit the lower back to relax and arch forward allowing gravvity to increase the lumbar lordosis."
"The bregma headstand has a more dynamic effect on your consciousness than the crown headstand"..."The crown headstand is calm and poised"".
She's also turned it into an article for Elephant Journal
So that gives us two points of the head for headstand, the crown and the Bregma, the third perhaps is the forehead as seen in the picture of Sharath above.
I also came across this in Andre Van Lysebeth's Yoga Self-Taught, where he seems to be using the top of the head for regular sirsasana but further forward from Kapalasana, take a look...
Van Lysebeth, you may remember, studied pranayama for a short while with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and famously included Pattabhi Jois' address at the back of his book which led Norman Allan to Mysore.
Excellent, found this source for Brahmasana from Brahmachari-Dhirendra's Yogasana Vijnana (1970)
Firstly he writes about Sirsasana
And then a couple of pages later we have this, where he seems to be referring to the bregma as Brahmanandhra. Does placing the head at Brahmanandhra suggest your in Brhamanasana?
Do these points correspond to those which Krishnamacharya is referring too?
Crown of the head for Sirsasana
Bregma or Brahmanandhra from Brahmasana
and closer to the forehead as in Mukta hasta sirsasana (with the palms flat) for Kapalasana
Here's the quote again
19. SIRSHASANA--HEAD STAND
This asana is so called because the head supports the whole body. This is also variously called KAPHALASANA, BRAHMASANA. These three, however, differ to some extent both in the technique and in the benefits derived. These differences have to be learnt under personal instructions form a Guru.
* Brahmasana is also a seated posture