Side Headstand Yoga Pose
overview

Side Headstand Yoga Pose is an inversion, twist pose that targets the abs and is ideal for yogis and yoginis at an intermediate level.

sahasrara – the crown chakra
related poses
How To Do Side Headstand Yoga Pose
  1. Begin by entering the Supported Headstand (Sirsasana). Once you have a stable base, begin rotating your legs to one side. When starting out, choose the side that you feel most comfortable with. Keep your tailbone tucked in, keeping a nice long line running straight up through your legs.
  2. As you twist, let the elbow on the side you’re twisting towards move out slightly. This will help develop a stronger base while you focus on keeping your weight evenly distributed between your forearms.
  3. Actively push your legs together and up toward the ceiling, pointing out with either your toes, heels or the balls of your feet. You will feel the stretch deepen in different ways based on the way you are pointing your feet.
  4. You may hold this position, or deepen your twist further. To twist the bottom half of your torso and legs further, open up your chest and allow your back to arch slightly. This will give you a more intense stretch but can put strain on the lower back, so take care with this extension if you do not have great lower-back and spine flexibility. By moving deeper into the position there will be a curve up your body with your legs more angled; otherwise your body will run almost completely vertical to the ground.
  5. Hold this position, starting at 10 seconds and gradually increasing the time in 5-10 second increments until you can hold the position anywhere from 1-5 minutes. When coming out of the position, do not allow your weight to drop on your neck; continue to press your shoulders into your back through the whole position, even as you lower your legs. Exhale while bringing your legs down, touching your toes to the floor at the same time. Once you are comfortable with the twist, try doing in the opposite direction as well, switching every-other time.
Notes
  • Breathing rhythmically and evenly is very important in any yoga posture, but breathing too deeply can shift the body in this pose. Instead of taking deep, long breaths, take shorter shallow ones. This will help you maintain your balance. As you hold the position, gradually deepen your breaths while focusing on maintaining the balance you’ve established.
  • Be sure you have all of the elements of the Supported Headstand down before you attempt the Side Headstand. Avoid over-compression of the neck — it will slightly compress on the side you are twisting towards, but be sure there is no strain.
    Be careful not to overtwist your body, which will interfere with your breathing. This may also cause pain in the lower back.
  • Avoid this asana if you currently have a neck or back injury, or if you are experiencing frequent headaches.
  • Avoid if you have high blood pressure (hypertension), low blood pressure or a preexisting heart condition.
  • Do not perform during menstruation. If you are pregnant, only perform this position if you are experienced with it — do not attempt to learn while pregnant. Even if you are experienced, it’s recommended that you consult your physician.
Tips

Before beginning, read the section on the Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana). Remembering all of the tips from that section will help you along your way to mastering the Side Headstand.
Clasping your hands together and resting them on the back of your head will help stabilize you and offer neck support.

Stretches & Strengthens

All Muscles: Legs, arms, abs, spine

Target Muscles: Abs

Health Benefits of Side Headstand Yoga Pose
  • May help relieve stress, anxiety and mild depression.
  • Strengthens lungs and can increase lung capacity.
  • Can improve digestion.
  • Can relieve symptoms of menopause, asthma, insomnia and sinusitis.

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Parsva Sirsasana

(parsh-vah shear-shAHS-anna)

parsva: side, near, proximate
sirsa: head, skull, top
asana: posture

History & Mythology

History & Mythology

There’s gotta be some history or mythology on this pose! We’ve looked high and low and have only come up with this message. Perhaps you have some information or resource for us to explore?