Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Sirsasana (headstand ) Variations Video Library.

Not recommended - 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). When this picture was taken I had been spending the previous year practicing long stays in headstand including the full 40 minute Vinyasa Krama inverted sequence once a week.

I posted this excellent video from David Garrigues yesterday which introduces his new King of Asana (sirsasana) downloadable video course. Mostly the course gives preparation for headstand employing several Primary series postures, it also looks at stabalizing your headstand. At one point in the course David looks at a padmasana variation but otherwise he doesn't look closely at all the different variations we see demonstrated in the video below.



David's new website https://www.davidgarrigues.com/

When I saw the above video yesterday I was reminded of all the variations that Krishnamacharya would practice and teach in Mysore in the 1930s back when Pattabhi Jois was his student, only a few of these variations were unfortunately carried over into Ashtanga series. However ,Krishnamacharya continued to teach them, to his long time student Srivatsa Ramaswami for example who taught them to us on the five week TT that I attended in 2010.


Here's Krishnamacharya in 1938 demonstrating some of these variations.




The next two videos are the full sequence that Ramaswami taught us containing the Sirsasana variations that can be found in his Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga as well as my own practice book. The first video is a speeded up presentation.




Practice sheets for these variations/subroutines can be found at the end of this post.


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One of the tricky variations from Krishnamacharya's 1938 demonstration video


Some variations that did get carried over to Ashtanga are found in the Ashtanga 2nd series, the seven headstands lovingly known as the seven deadlies.


Vinyasa Krama version of these less supported headstands.



I have a soft spot for this padmasana to sirsasana variation that I saw Ricky Tran practicing on Ramaswami's TT



Krishnamacharya and Ramaswami recommended long stays in a well supported headstand where almost no weight is actually on the head but rather on the forearms. We would practice a few key shoulderstand preparation asana, a five minute sarvangasana (shoulderstand) then a counterposture followed by a a five to ten minute well supported headstand then five to ten minutes of sirsasana variations before employing sarvangasana (shoulderstand) variations and finally a counterposture.


More sirsasana variations in the second half of this video.


The sirsasana mandala found in the later Ashtanga series, not recommended due to the risk of neck injury.


This next video was part of the Rishi project staying in all the asana from primary and second series Ashtanga for 25 to 50 breaths each. However, while possible long stays in less and unsupported headstands is not recommend as too much weight is placed on the head and neck, we weren't designed for it.



Some Tutorials although I recommend David Garrigues king of Asana course. First a rare talkie followed by the headstand lead in from Vinyasa Krama.





Info on the Vinyasa krama sequences can be found on my Vinyasa Krama blog



LINKS to Related posts


Below is my Earlier post on Krishnamacharya's headstands variations in full

see also perhaps






and this newsletter from Ramaswami outlining the benefits of practicing these asana variations.




And also this article from Ramaswami on Sirsasana and variations



Krishnamacharya t 84

Krishnamacharya at 50 in 1938 Mysore.

*

Practice sheets below from my practice book

Link to Lulu.com
Also available on Amazon but Lulu allow me to discount.
There's a kindle version with hyperlinks to the videos
but it only really works well on the Kindle Ipad app
where you can enlarge pictures easily,
the pictures are too small on the actual kindle.

Inverted/Sirsasana variation sub-rountines










see  THIS page from the top of this blog for more practice sheets


Why do inversions?


"Some contemporary yogis may read these metaphorical narrations with a 
wry smile. However these inversions should be considered as unique 
contributions of Yoga, for health. Within the first few minutes of 
Sirsasana practice, the leg and thigh muscles, the gluteal muscles, 
relax. The chest, back, shoulders and neck muscles also relax as all 
these are not required to maintain the postural tone as in the upright 
position. It has been found that due to the relaxation of the leg 
muscles, the blood pressure in the legs drop to about 30mm.There is no 
great rush of blood to the head among the adept yogis due to auto 
regulation; yet the gravity helps to open up many capillaries in the 
brain, head and face which may otherwise remain partially closed. 
People with high blood pressure and retinal problems will have to be 
careful. However persons with mild hypertension and under control with 
diet, life style change and even medication could benefit from this 
posture if they had learnt it from early life. It appears to increase 
pressure on the shoulders which would result in the brain trying to 
reduce the blood pressure. Therefore if one would practice Sirshasana 
regularly for a sufficient duration, one’s pulse rate tends to reduce, 
thereby reducing the strain on the heart. Gradually there is a 
reduction in the blood pressure. 

What is equally important is that Sirsasana helps improve circulation 
of the cerebro spinal fluid, which is helpful to the brain and also 
for the spinal nerve bundles—the chakras. Because of the increased 
pressure in the brain due to this fluid, the pituitary secretions 
increase helping the better functioning of the sympathetic nervous 
system which will help in many ways including the dilatation of the 
bronchial tubes giving great relief to asthmatics. There is draining 
of the bronchial tubes, giving some welcome relief for those with 
chronic chest congestion.  Many feel increased memory power and 
general better brain capacity. There are cases of even some correction 
of the eyesight. The vinyasas like the twists, Akunchanasana, the 
backbends like Viparitadandasana in Sirsasana and Uttanamayurasana in 
Sarvangasana help the spine considerably, by not only maintaining the 
flexibility of this structure but also nourish the nadis and chakras 
or nerve fibers and nerve bundles in the spinal chord. 

In the inversions, as mentioned in earlier articles, the internal 
organs get positional correction. Pregnant yoginis may find the 
inversions help relieve pelvic congestion, oedema of the legs, 
conditions that are prevalent during pregnancy. Practising the 
inverted poses with the variety of vinyasas gives a complete massage 
to all the muscles, organs and considerably increases the blood 
circulation. Perhaps equally important is the effect of the twin poses 
on the major joints-- the ankles, the knees, the hips and the spine. 
The intra-articular space within the joints improves and hence the 
joint movements when one does the various vinyasas also will improve. 
Dorsal and plantar flexions performed in the ankle joints while in 
these asanas help the ankles significantly. Asanas like Akunchanasana 
in inversions give good relief to the knees, while  inversions  help 
to open the hips by dragging the big pelvic girdle down a bit and 
giving more space for the femur to move and rotate nicely within the 
hip socket(pl refer to Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga for headstand and 
shoulder stand vinyasas). Perhaps the most benefit accrues to the 
entire spine. The inter-vertebral space is enhanced and person who 
practises these inversions and the vinyasas like akunchanasana and 
backbends will find the spine stretching nicely and becoming more 
flexible. The narrowing of the inter-vertebral space can be tackled 
positively and the low back pain reduces significantly. I would say 
that the inversions are the best yoga postures to alleviate low back 
pain. Overall these inversions and the vinyasas in them help to keep 
the spine supple and strong. It is said one is as old as the condition 
of the spine. Further, because of the relaxation of the lower 
extremities Sarvangasana is a good pose to help overcome insomnia. 
These twin poses are very good for health". 

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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