By Madan G Singh
Yoga is an art that is entirely Indian in origin and practice. The origins of Yoga are buried in antiquity, but most famous saints and rishis have practiced this art. Yoga has two dimensions which are physical as well as spiritual. This is peculiar to the exercise systems that originate from the orient. The western world cannot fathom how an exercise system can have spiritual overtones as well.
The science of Yoga is an ancient science that has been practiced in India since time immemorial. The Vedas allude to this and many men even after decades of study have not been able to unravel the mysteries of this system.
The physical side of yoga concerns a set of poses that are to be retained for some length of time for their beneficial effects to take place. Western physical exercise systems like weight training require repetitive sets, but yoga has nothing like this and consists of retaining a pose for some time. These poses are called asanas.
Yogic asans can be divided into elementary, intermediate and difficult. But bear in mind that all these asans need to be done in the correct way for the benefits to accrue, otherwise there is a chance that you could in the extreme case even harm yourself.
Out of all the yogic poses the sirsha asana or head stand is the king of all asans (poses). It is also the most advanced and difficult. Ancient seers laid great stress on this asana as it was also supposed to lead to nirvana -eternal bliss. But I will caution a beginner who wishes to perfect this pose. Firstly a degree of physical fitness is essential to do this pose. I will recommend that to learn this pose it is best to consult an instructor or join a Yoga school. In the 21st century the western world has realized the benefits of Yoga and a lot many teachers and schools are available to teach Yoga.
The Sirsha asan consists of a basic pose of standing upright on your head. It is also called the inverted pose as the human body is inverted with feet up and head resting on a floor or mat. For this pose it is desirable that you have a mat. I will not advise doing this pose on a concrete floor. You could also do this pose in the garden with the soft grass acting as a cushion for your head.
I will also caution people to attempt this pose only if you are fit and have no serious problems like low or high blood pressure. In such cases the Sirsha asan is to be avoided at all costs. The benefits of the asan are many and have stood the test of time. Basically this pose strengthens the back bone and neck as well as acts as tonic to the brain and other systems of the body. Regular practice of this asan can also act as a rejuvenator of your sex life as well as.
The sirsha asan is done in a simple way. Invert your body and put your hands under your head. Stretch your legs and give an upward push so that your body rises up with the head resting on your palms as the base. The best way to describe this is to practice half a somersault and raise your feet up instead of rolling over. The pose itself can be mastered by doing it repeatedly. The trick in this pose is to retain it for some length of time. I recommend that initially you try and keep the pose for 15 seconds and then gradually increase the timing to 2 minutes.
The sirsha asan has another peculiarity. In case you are celibate and you do the head stand for some time regularly then the as per the learned Yogis the sperms of your body are supposed to go slowly up the spine and form a Lotus flower at the base of the brain. This is supposed to give the person ESP sensations. But nobody has verified this scientifically.
Forgetting the spiritual part a yogic head stand has many beneficial properties that will certainly invigorate your body, strengthen the spine and make the brain sharper. But some external guidance or a guru must be contacted to master this pose. Sirsha asana can also be safely done by women, though some experts do not recommend it during menstruation.