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Ardha Shirsasana | Half Headstand by Caroline Klebl

Ardha shirsasana is part of the finishing sequence of ashtanga yoga. The finishing sequence is practiced at the end of the primary, intermediate and advanced series. The finishing sequence includes urdhva dhanurasana, upward facing bow pose, paschimottanasana, forward bend, sarvangasana, shoulderstand, matsyasana, fish pose, shirsasana, headstand, padmasana, lotus pose and shavasana, corpse pose. After practicing shirsasana, headstand for 10 deep breaths, ardha shirsasana is practiced.

To practice ardha shirsasana it is important to be able to maintain a strong steady headstand for 10 deep ujjai breaths. In shirsasana keep the weight of your body in your forearms, so that the neck is not compressed. The elbows should be shoulder-width apart. On the exhaling breath begin lowering the legs, keeping them straight, by reaching the hips back over the head. Point the toes and lower the legs until you can see your toes. In ardha shirsasana, the legs are straight and parallel to the floor. Practice nasagrai drishti, by looking to the tip of the nose. Remain in ardha shirsasana for 5 deep breaths. Inhale raise the legs, back up into shirsasana. Exhale lower the toes all the way down to the floor, keeping the legs straight. Then bend the knees and drop the hips down onto the heels into Balasana, child’s pose. Reach the arms down the sides of the body, with the palms of the hands facing up and rest the forehead on the floor for 5 deep breaths. Enjoy this wonderful pose!

Benefits:  Since ardha shirsasana is an inverted pose, it improves blood circulation, assists with lymph drainage. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, it is mentioned that amrita, the nectar of immortality resides in the center of the head. Over time it drips down and is consumed by the digestive fire. Inversions preserve the amrita and stop it from dripping down into the digestive fire. Shirsasana is therefore known to promote longevity.

Ardha shirsasana strengthens the arms, shoulders, back and legs. It also helps to improve focus, since it is a balancing pose. When practiced regularly shirsasana can reduce headaches.

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