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Sirsasana – Headstand Yoga Pose

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Sirsasana - Headstand Yoga PoseSivananda Yoga calls the headstand a ‘cure for all diseases’.  It is claimed that the headstanding posture benefits the endocrine glands and the digestive system.

It helps to pump blood quickly to the heart and improves the flow of fluids through the lymphatic system channels, helping the body to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste more effectively. However, we are not aware of any actual scientific evidence for this.

There are also risks to damage to the neck and eyes (including loss of vision) when performing this posture and it is recommended that modifications are used, such as using blocks to support the shoulders, and that it is not performed by those over 50 years.  See references below.

When performing a headstand the crown of the head should be on the floor supported by your hands interlocked behind your head. There should be no discomfort on the neck. If you feel any pain on the neck come out of the posture immediately.

Your elbows should be at about 80 degrees angle. Concentrate on your breathing and focus on the solar plexus for balance.


Keep the pressure away from the head supporting the body weight mainly with the forearms. Hold this posture for about 3 to 5 minutes to obtain maximum benefit. To come out drop the legs down gradually and rest in the child pose for at least 10 seconds.

The Dolphin posture push up is a good way to strengthen the arms in preparation for the headstand.

The headstand is a good way to finish your yoga practice, followed by the lotus posture.

The headstand is contraindicated for people suffering from high blood pressure, glaucoma and other eye problems, neck pain, excess weight and osteoporosis.

See our Step-by-Step Instructions on How to do the Headstand for a complete guide on how to do the headstand yoga posture.

Hatha Yoga Postures: Sanskrit – English

Headstands and health – some research


Even though the yogi masters were sure of its health benefits, the scientific community is less keen. Some research has shown that prolonged periods in the posture is bad for the eyes and others have recognized the strain on the neck, especially when entering and leaving the posture.

Progression of glaucoma associated with the Sirsasana (headstand) yoga posture” by MJ Gallardo (and others) 2006. Advances in Therapy.

Sirsasana (headstand) technique alters head/neck loading : considerations for safety” by Rachel Elizabeth Hector, 2012.

“… modifying headstand technique may reduce some of the mechanical risks of headstand.” Rachel Hector.

Central retinal vein occlusion following Sirsasana (headstand posture)” by Nikunj J Shah and Urmi N Shah, Indian J Ophthalmol. 2009 Jan-Feb; 57(1): 69–70.

“Instructors suggest avoiding Sirsasana in patients with hypertension, congestive heart failure, berry aneurysms, and those above 50 years of age.”

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  50 comments for “Sirsasana – Headstand Yoga Pose

  1. Jon
    June 24, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Sounds like it. When are they getting too red? Does it pass?

  2. Neeraj
    June 27, 2013 at 7:14 am

    after doing this yoga about 30-60 sec they gets red and remain red for about 2 hours….is their are any problem ?

  3. Jon
    June 27, 2013 at 8:22 am

    It is probably best to stop doing this posture. When inverted blood rushes to your head and increased blood pressure could result in blood vessels rupturing in the eyes. It is not actually uncommon and the best advice for those who suffer in this way is to stop standing on your head.

  4. Neeraj
    June 27, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    OK thnkss someone said to be this yoga is good for celibacy….. can you suggest me some good yoga for celibacy….that can stop wet dream…. and passion.

  5. Jon
    July 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Um, sorry, not aware of such a thing.

  6. Firdaus
    March 16, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Several websites reveal that people with eye problems should avoid doing headstand. However, I can’t find reasons for such a statement. I am a myopic. I wear glasses. Please tell if the statement is true and if yes, then how does headstand affects a myopic? Will appreciate your response. Thank you!

  7. MotleyHealth
    March 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Firdaus, research into yoga headstands has indicated a risk of damage to the eyes. See “Progression of glaucoma associated with the Sirsasana (headstand) yoga posture” by Mark J. Gallardo MD, which states: “Transient increases in IOP associated with the yoga headstand posture may lead to progressive glaucomatous optic nerve damage and visual field loss.”

  8. Adrian
    May 28, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Actually the saying about curing all diseases is that 3 hours of headstand a day will cure all disease. 5 minutes is not long enough to do hardly any good. One must work one’s way up to at least 30 minutes a day to really see true benefits.

  9. MotleyHealth
    May 28, 2014 at 8:50 am

    There is not really any medical evidence that standing on your head will not cure any diseases. In fact, some research suggests that it is bad for long-term health. Always be careful.

  10. paramjeet
    September 10, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Neeraj…do not put the weight on ur head or neck while perforfiming it…put ur all or 90% of weight on ur shoulder…

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