ETYMOLOGY: The ancient yogic treaties call SHIRSHASANA the queen of all asanas. The reasons for which it bears such fame are not difficult to understand.
This pose is called the Pose of the Dolphin because the body resembles a dolphin swimming in the sea. The Sanskrit name of this asana is ARDHA-SHIRSHASANA; ARDHA means “half” and SHIRSHASANA means “head standing”.
HOW TO PERFORM THIS ASANA
The starting position: touch the floor with your forehead, on the line where the hair begins (or in some cases, where the hair used to grow). Intertwine your fingers and slide them under your head. The hands placed in this manner prevent the head from slipping on the floor.
It is important that once you placed your head on the floor, you do not move it anymore, or else the beneficialial effects of this asana are nullified.
Obviously, the hands being intertwined, the forearms and elbows form a base of support as follows: place one forearm on the floor. Hold the elbow with your other hand so that the elbows and the intertwined fingers form an equilateral triangle.
After placing the head on the floor, as mentioned before, we will shift our attention towards the legs. Begin by placing them at a distance from the trunk, as this position will determine a certain form of the spine and a correct placement of the head.
There are two possibilities for the position of the head: we either stretch the muscles of the shanks, and in this case we place the soles on the floor on their entire length, or we will focus on the position of the spine, supporting our weight on the toes.
After taking 5-10 normal breaths, slowly and relaxed, we will bring the soles closer to the trunk until the spine is somewhat perpendicular on the floor. Be careful not to overdo it, because you may have problems at the neck.
While bringing the soles close to the trunk, most people tend to let their support go too much on the crown of the head. This is incorrect as it diminishes the effects this asana has on the strengthening of the spine and vertebras.
For this, we have to bring the feet slowly close to the trunk, so that the point where we support the head remains the same. In the final position, the feet are approximately 20-30 cm away from the head. The abdominal muscles are tensed, due to the position of the body, which is excellent for the strengthening of the muscles in the area.
While performing this asana, focus to perceive the tellurian energy flowing through the feet and trunk, and its location at the level of the crown. Perceive also the cosmic energy through spine, and its sublimation to the crown of the head. We perceive the activation of Sahasrara, refined consciousness, transcendence, and detachment from the inferior levels of the manifestation.
1. Supporting your head directly on the crown of the head
2. Placing your fingers underneath the head, not only partially underneath, so that the intertwined fingers may sustain the head
3. Spreading the elbows too much
4. Bending the knees
5. Modifying the position of the head when bringing the feet close to the head
6. Rushing to get into the final phase of the asana, without allowing the spine to strengthen.
- This asana gradually rectifies the spine, especially the upper part of the spine, through the stretching of the dorsal muscles.
- It also fortifies the muscles of the neck and prepares it for Shirshasana.