|Practiced as a mudra Sirsasana vewrsion of Viparita karani, breath slowed and slowed some more, uddiyana bandha/kriya, kumbhaka, long stay|
WHERE TO PLACE THE HEAD IN HEADSTAND
This was buried away in an old post of mine from a couple of years back
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".
Ryan C. Leier Hey Brother! I was wondering if you have found clearly anywhere what the differences are between Sirsasana, Kapalasana and Bhramasana according to Krishnamacharya and his pupils? Love from Pune!
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 beenSalutations 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.|
This seems to be a little further forward than I generally place my head......or so I thought. just fished out a picture of me actually in headstand and that point above seems to be exactly where i place my head, I always thought I had it further back than that.
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
"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"".
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.
So some questions
Where do YOU place YOUR head?
Have you been adjusted, asked to place your head differently?
What reasons have you been given for placing the head 'just so'?
And has anybody explained to you the difference between SIRSHASANA, KAPHALASANA and BRAHMASANA?
And while on the topic of headstands SEETHE FOLLOWING POST
|To approach it safely you'll want to have been working on regular headstands for sometime especially Middle group niralumba sirsasana ( headstand with less and without support, see below)|
* Brahmasana is also a seated posture
"Brahmasana may be tried. This is similar to the above but the toes of the feet are not placed between the thigh and the calf. The sole of the left foot is placed below the right thigh touching it. The sole of back of the right foot is placed on the left thigh, with the sole facing upwards. Both the knees should be touching the blanket." YM2 p119