Unsupported Headstand

Definition - What does Unsupported Headstand mean?

Unsupported headstand is a much more challenging variation of a basic yoga headstand. In the unsupported version, the hands and arms provide balance, but do not support any of the body's weight.

To practice this pose, come into supported headstand and slowly transition into unsupported headstand by moving one arm at a time until both are extended straight forward, with just the fingertips touching the floor. The arm position can vary. For example, the hands may be placed in front of the chest in prayer position.

Unsupported headstand is also known by its Sanskrit name, niralamba sirsasana.

Yogapedia explains Unsupported Headstand

Because unsupported headstand lacks the stability of a supported headstand, the yogi should master the supported variation before attempting the more advanced unsupported variation.

Unsupported headstand offers a wide range of spiritual and physical benefits:

  • Increases vitality
  • Stills the mind
  • Eases stress
  • Purifies the blood
  • Relieves asthma symptoms
  • Eases headaches
  • Improves blood flow to the brain
  • Eases pressure on the abdominal organs and improves digestion
  • Improves menopausal symptoms

Yogis who suffer from back injuries, heart conditions, high blood pressure or neck injuries should skip headstands, in general, and unsupported headstand, in particular. Yogis with low blood pressure should not practice the pose at the beginning of asana practice.

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