In Sanskrit, siras means head. As one has to stand upside down, this position is called sirshasan. In this pose, the whole body is inverted. Owing to gravitation, the arch of the aorta, the common carotids, the innominate, and the subclavian are flooded with rich arterial blood. In this pose alone can the brain draw a rich supply of pure blood.

In an upright position, gravity opposes the return of blood to the heart from regions below its level. Generally, the contraction of the abdominal and limb muscles, the force of the heartbeat, and the suction from the respiratory movements keep an adequate venous return.

We use the brain for many purposes and it is essential to feed this important organ. Therefore, no other exercise equals the headstand in bringing fresh arterial blood. Daily practice of this exercise for ten to fifteen minutes increases the memory and intellectual power, as well as the supply of blood to the upper part of the back, the neck, eyes and ears.

In an inverted position, cervical and thoracic parts of the vertebral column get more pressure and the lumbar and sacral parts of the vertebral column and cartilages are relieved of the pressure. The headstand is also a good practice for strengthening the vertebral column. This exercise is of particular benefit to those who need concentration power in their work.

Cerebral hemorrhage is the most frequent of all affections of the brain. It is caused by thickening of the arterial coats. A sudden strain increases the pressure and may rupture one of the vessels, which is fatal. Persons with either high or low blood pressure should not attempt headstands.

Swami Vishnu-devananda
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga

A couple of times per year, we hold Headstand Workshops. During these workshops, we review how to come into this yoga posture systematically and safely via eight steps as taught by Swami Vishnu-devananda. The Headstand pose is also taught in our Beginner Yoga Courses and practiced in our open yoga classes.