by Arthur Lederer.
Every person has at least one thing that they are passionate about, that they love doing and look forward to. For me, it’s standing on my head. Some people watch movies, others play basketball. I stand on my head. For many years I have been standing on my head every day for a quarter of an hour each day. Just to be clear, this is not some strange hobby – this is an ancient yogic technique called Shirshasana in Sanskrit and today usually referred to as the ‘Head Stand’. Moreover, it is not a hobby – it is a very powerful tool!
Some might think that I am wasting my time or that I am a some kind of dreamy eyed hippy (I apologize to all the dreamy eyed hippies), so to set the record straight – I am 35 years old with both feet on the ground (accept for when I am standing on my head, of course), am working in marketing, am also studying psychology and am a retired military officer. For me this practice of standing on my head is a very efficient investment of my time. And I am not alone. Many great persons had the same conclusion. For example, the founder and first prime-minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, is known to have been spending some time every day on his head (despite having an entire nation on his head, so to speak).
With my feet tickling the sky and my head rooted steadily on the ground, I feel my body becoming so soft and relaxed. The thoughts slow down, rising up to the surface of my awareness, inner tensions and conflicts are made conscious of and dissolve, the mind becomes more and more clear and calm until eventually a great silence sets in. Now an ineffable journey begins into mysterious spiritual realities and altered states of consciousness.
I do not do the Head Stand because I like it – and I do like it very much – I use it as a tool for reaching specific purposes. And what a great tool it is!
7 Reasons for standing on the head:
1) The Head Stand improves the health of the body and quickly cures many illnesses. It seems to take back time and the practitioner exhibits a state of long-lasting youth.
2) The Head Stand is a very efficient method to quickly eliminate negative states such as tiredness, anxiety, laziness, fear, jealousy, anger and more. The energy behind such states transforms into higher positive states. Any state that we do not want and which is tutoring us can be quickly removed by practicing the head stand. When I was troubled by jealousy I would simply ‘let it go to my head’ so to speak – I would stand on my head and wouldn’t come down until that state was gone.
3) It provides a resetting of the entire system – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As we go along in our life we accumulate experiences which are not completely understood and processed, feelings and issues we didn’t resolve and all these start piling up like a desktop which is overfull with unfinished documents. The head stand produces a kind of re-booting of our system, clearing away all the unfinished tasks, categorizing information and experiences into their correct folders – and after it we can start again with a clean slate. For me, the daily 15 minute of head stand are like a 3 day vacation – only that it takes me much less time, I don’t need to go anywhere and it’s free!
4) The Head Stand energizes the higher functions of the being: the superior intelligence and intuition; the ability to think freely and lucidly, free of dogmas, preconceived ideas and manipulation; awareness over the mental processes; self control; the perception of time is altered – as a single moment seems to envelop an eternity in it and then mysteriously the feeling of ‘not having enough time’ is gone from my daily experience; and much more.
5) It increases the quality of awareness. This is a secret ingredient as it is one thing that most of us severely lack and adding it makes everything so much more beautiful, magical, powerful, intense and blissful. Going on with my daily activities after coming down from my morning head-stand I am more present in the Here and Now, in every action and every moment. The trees I see out the bus window on the way to work fill my heart with enchantment; the love manifesting in an infinity of nuances between my lover and I gives my heart wings; the daily interactions with people and the challenging situations met at work all offer valuable lessons for my self-improvement. With awareness, every moment reveals itself to be a unique experience to be lived which will never return and a great learning opportunity.
6) The practice of the Head Stand opens the gates for the consciousness to enter deeper levels of existence, before unexpected by most human beings. The reality of the physical body and physical world is discovered to be just the tip of the iceberg, beyond which are revealed amazing vast universes arranged in multiple levels one on top of the other, controlling and influencing each other, hiding one behind the other: the energetic behind the physical, the astral behind the energetic, the mental behind the astral, the super-mental behind the mental, the causal behind the super-mental. This becomes an invitation to an extraordinary exploration, one whose frontier rests deeper and deeper within us. This also offers us a much greater efficiency in acting: before, we were only aware and active on the physical level yet were constantly influenced by factors from the levels of the energetic, astral and beyond; now, we are aware of these influences and can no longer be easily controlled by them, and we are able to act at the superior levels of reality and influence from there the outcome on all levels, including at the physical level. Such a person appears to others as though he does not do much, yet every little action he does seems to have great echoes and ripples all around him and mysteriously his intentions materialize around him.
7) The perseverant practice of Sirshasana, the Head Stand, increases very much the spiritual evolution of the human being. Qualities and inner improvements which would take another person decades to achieve, appear in the practitioner within weeks. The journey towards Self knowledge becomes ever faster and the practitioner becomes a conscious participant in this odyssey. Beyond all the mysterious subtle realities that he unveils, beyond all the qualities he develops – emerges the essential reality of our being, our true nature, the Divine Self – which gradually becomes the substratum for all of our experiences. For such a person, no spiritual goal is impossible.
Anyone who had correctly and perseveringly practiced the Head Stand will testify that this yogic technique is a jewel giving its practitioner great benefits. Trust me, if you ever find yourself in front of a hopeless situation, blocked and trapped, unable to move forward or unsure as what would be the best course of action – there is no better way that I know of to get a better perspective of the situation then to look at it while standing on the head.
A friend once asked me if I am not too busy to stand on my head, I answered ‘I am too busy not to’.
It is important to mention that Shirshasana, the Head Stand, is a yogic technique which has to be practiced correctly. If practiced incorrectly, it could very well cause severe problems in the being. Therefore, it is important not to practice this technique without being taught and instructed by a competent yoga teacher. Learning it from a book is not recommended at all. Therefore, I encourage you to find a good yoga teacher and follow his/her instructions, practice the various techniques which will gradually prepare you to practice correctly the Head Stand, and when you get that technique, practice it daily toward the realization of your beneficial and harmonious goals.