Link to one of Ramaswami's excellent newsletter on Shoulderstand and Headstand and why they are considered so beneficial
AUGUST 2009 NEWSLETTER FROM SRIVATSA RAMASWAMI—HEAD AND SHOULDERS
from the newsletter...
"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". Srivatsa Ramaswami
Which may make us question the purpose of some of these alternatives physiologically, personally I'm looking at the breath.
|Notice the heavily pregnant woman in the first picture which ties in nicely with my previous post on Yoga and motherhood|
In the book they are presented as complete practices, personally I tend to use them as a frame work and add a couple of extra asana around those mentioned in line with Ramaswami's subroutines but then I have extra time for practice.
Another nice aspect of Sri Sribhashyam's book is that it's laid out pedagogically, the level of difficulty of the asana builds up but more importantly so does the pranayama, the length of stay and number of repetitions and introduction of kumbhaka into certain asana and Mudra. At the end of the 58 general practices one might turn to examples of Krishnamacharya's own personal practices to explore how the practices are taken even further.
Here then are the five alternatives to Sirsaasana that Sri Sribhashyam introduces in the book and in the context of the practice. I know some will want to try out the whole practice so have included the outlines for practice as well as the internal drishti focal point sheet.
See this post as accompanying my more extensive review of the book found at the link below
Emergence of Yoga by Krishnamacharya's 3rd son SRI T K SRIBHASHYAM now available in English translation
I tend to practice my Krishnamacharya Original Ashtanga (see outline beneath the kapo at top of page) in the morning and then turn to one of these practices in the evening, for the Ashtangis' amongst you these practices might constitute a gentle Saturday (rest day), Moon day, Ladies holiday practice (with the sirsasana alternative) or something to turn to if injured (wrists). They also give a nice progression for building a pranayama practice.
For those practicing Vinyasa Krama and wondering how to move from the full sequences to a daily practice they can give a general framework perhaps.
Unfortunately I don't have a scanner here in Japan so the picture quality isn't good and don't do the book, which is beautiful, justice but then this is supposed to be an introduction to the book, hopefully you'll be tempted to buy it especially as it's available in translation thus far in English, Spanish, French and German.
Here it is on Amazon.com
I've added a video example of one of Krishnamacharya's own personal 'Life saving' practices from the book at the bottom of the post.
Alternatives to Sirsa asana (headstand)
|Alternative: Supta Pada Angusta Asana|
|Alternative: Maha Mudra|
|Alternative; Viparita Karani|
|Alternative: Utthita Pada Angusta Asana|
|Alternative: Savanga Asana|
|Alternative: Tatka mudra|
The alternative asana and mudras
Nice little app, very easy to import the videos from the iPhone/itouch via iTunes