Niralamba Sirsasana or the unsupported head stand is a variation of Sirsasana or the classical head stand. Niralamba Sirsasana is more difficult to perform than Sirsasana as it attempts to balance the entire body weight solely on the head in the inverted position. The arms are used only to give a sense of balance and does not bear the body weight.
Beginners should not attempt Sirsasana and its variations without the help from an experienced yoga instructor. It is good to have a friend or a partner look over you when you are learning this pose. There is always a danger of falling due to lack to balance and causing injury to neck and spine. Niralamba Sirsasana should be attempted only by yoga students in the advanced stages under guidance. Those suffering from neck, back and spine problems should avoid this asana.
There are many variations of Niralamba Sirsasana depending on how the arms are positioned with respect to the body. In some variations the arms arm are kept on the sides while in others the arms are kept far in front of the body on the floor. Overall, the weight of the body is primarily supported on the head and neck muscles. The arms hardly support the weight and is used only for balancing the inverted erect body in the final pose.
How to do Niralamba Sirsasana (The Unsupported Head Stand)?
- Those who wish to do Niralamba Sirsasana should first master the Salamba Sirsasana or the supported head stand. The steps for performing this asana is the same as Salamba Sirsasana, except that in the end, the hands are moved to a position where the body weight entirely rests on the head. This transition requires lot of caution. One way is to move the hands slowly to the front of the body on the floor so that it helps in balancing, though no weight is supported by it. Advanced practitioners can even remove the hands from the floor and place it next to the legs/thighs. This requires great skill and balance. The support of a wall can also be taken in the initial stages. Also get a partner to watch over you to prevent any fall.
- Remain in the final position for few seconds only in the beginning. Later, it can be increased as per one’s skill and abilities.
- To release the position, bring the hands back the floor, next to the head as in Salamba Sirsasana. The hands now supports part of the body weight and gives balance to the body before descending. Slowly descend and come back to the starting Marjariasana position. One can optionally do Tadasana to help bring back the excess blood from the head to the body. Lie down in Shavasana for few minutes as a resting pose.
Benefits of Salamba Sirsasana (The Supported Head Stand)
- The Benefits are same as that for Sirsasana.
- Niralamba Sirsasana gives a great sense of balance.