Maximum time in Headstand


#1

Currently I am doing headstand for around 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on a regular basis. I read somewhere that it is safe to do it as long as 12 minutes.

I was wondering how long other yogis here do their headstand for. What are the reasons for doing it for certain time? I do it for around 2 1/2 minutes becuase I start feeling a bit uncomfortable and also didn’t know 12 minute was a limit. I intend to extend my time little by little more.

I also wanted to ask why 12 minute limit has been set, what are the bad negative effects after 12 minutes?


#2

I think the maximum amount of time that this still falls within the borders of “healthy” differs for every person. I am guessing 12 is a safe number for sure, as to avoid incidents. I personally would not strive to stand in headstand for too long. I think your 2 and 1/2 minutes is more than enough and I would advice you not to do it much longer if it feels uncomfortable from that moment on.

It is not like you get superpowers if you do it for 12 minutes, so dont worry, you are not missing out on anything but brain complications.

Love,
B.


#3

[QUOTE=Bentinho Massaro;21345]I think the maximum amount of time that this still falls within the borders of “healthy” differs for every person. I am guessing 12 is a safe number for sure, as to avoid incidents. I personally would not strive to stand in headstand for too long. I think your 2 and 1/2 minutes is more than enough and I would advice you not to do it much longer if it feels uncomfortable from that moment on.

It is not like you get superpowers if you do it for 12 minutes, so dont worry, you are not missing out on anything but brain complications.

Love,
B.[/QUOTE]

Speak for yourself! If I do a headstand for 12 minutes, I get to levitate for 20!
Just kidding!!!:wink: Seriously, I don’t think I’ve gone much longer than a minute.


#4

[QUOTE=Bentinho Massaro;21345]I think the maximum amount of time that this still falls within the borders of “healthy” differs for every person. I am guessing 12 is a safe number for sure, as to avoid incidents. I personally would not strive to stand in headstand for too long. I think your 2 and 1/2 minutes is more than enough and I would advice you not to do it much longer if it feels uncomfortable from that moment on.

It is not like you get superpowers if you do it for 12 minutes, so dont worry, you are not missing out on anything but brain complications.

Love,
B.[/QUOTE]

Where do you get the “12 minute” number from? Could you provide any reference for the same? Why do you think my 2 1/2 minute is enough? Also I don’t agree you should not do it much longer if it feels uncomfortable. I mean anybody and everybody who did headstand first, it must have felt uncomfortable the first very second. But I believe you get used to the uncomfortable feeling and build it gradually. When I started doing headstand, I felt uncomforable. I read somehwere that it is safe to do was very uncomfortable even at 5-10 seconds. If I would have stopped it, I could have never done 2 1/2 minutes like I do now. Not saying you one should go on and on until one injures something. Thats why wanted to find out the max numbers that would help set goals and targets in mind.


#5

Surely you are right about being uncomfortable at first and once getting used to it and pushing your limits it won’t be discomforting anymore. It works like that with many physical activities. But ask yourself to what purpose are you trying to stand on your head for longer periods of time?

Your main goal is to be happy right? If you believe setting a goal in your mind which revolves around doing a headstand for a longer amount of time, while worrying what is right and wrong will make you happy, feel free to set a mark and go beyond, and once there set a new mark and go beyond once again.

But what are you trying to reach, what are you hoping to attain? If it is fulfillment you are looking for, just know that striving doesn’t help much, nor does a headstand.

That is why I said 2 1/2 minutes are enough. Doing it for 5 minutes won’t fulfill you either, nor will it make you healthier. But the latter is just my opinion.

If you wish your actions to be in harmony with your body and the natural order of things, than this is my advice:

  1. know why you are doing what you are doing
  2. if it is out of striving to be better in order to feel fulfilling, don’t push your limits because than your egoistic state is forcing things and may cause harm to your body, which is unnecessary.

With that, do as you see fit.


#6

[QUOTE=Bentinho Massaro;21461]Surely you are right about being uncomfortable at first and once getting used to it and pushing your limits it won’t be discomforting anymore. It works like that with many physical activities. But ask yourself to what purpose are you trying to stand on your head for longer periods of time?

Your main goal is to be happy right? If you believe setting a goal in your mind which revolves around doing a headstand for a longer amount of time, while worrying what is right and wrong will make you happy, feel free to set a mark and go beyond, and once there set a new mark and go beyond once again.

But what are you trying to reach, what are you hoping to attain? If it is fulfillment you are looking for, just know that striving doesn’t help much, nor does a headstand.

That is why I said 2 1/2 minutes are enough. Doing it for 5 minutes won’t fulfill you either, nor will it make you healthier. But the latter is just my opinion.

If you wish your actions to be in harmony with your body and the natural order of things, than this is my advice:

  1. know why you are doing what you are doing
  2. if it is out of striving to be better in order to feel fulfilling, don’t push your limits because than your egoistic state is forcing things and may cause harm to your body, which is unnecessary.

With that, do as you see fit.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for your reply. I agree with you on all points. I just wanted to know why do you think 2 1/2 minutes is enough?

Also about egoistic state, I see exactly what I you are saying. Makes me wonder and think about so much. But I will just stick to headstand. I am pretty sure at some point I could do headstand for only 1 minute. I honestly believe that it was my egoistic state that pushed my limits to attempt more and try more. I can now do 2 1/2 minutes quite comfortably? Does this make my practice unsafe? Does this mean I am just waiting for harm to happen t my mind/body? Who defines limits?


#7

Hey Yalgaar,

Well I certainly cannot define your limits for you. Headstand altogether seems to me not to be as good of a pose as every yogi claims it to be. You can also do the candle one which is less risky but has much of the same ‘benefits’. Or even just bend over in a standing pashimotanasana and relax your arms and neck. I found this one to be applicable during the day and greatly refreshing and beneficial. I think it is refreshing and healthy for your body to every once in a while be upside down, perhaps once a day to get the blood flowing and the energy moving more freely, but I would not stand on my head for 2 1/2 minutes a day. But then again, if you have trained yourself to do that and you feel absolutely comfortable with it, why not.

Though my main point was, that 2 1/2 minutes or 12 minutes does not make much difference in terms of giving you ‘more health’ or ‘more benefits’. I believe 2 and a 1/2 minutes to be more than enough to reap the benefits. I think after one minute of headstand you already have refreshed the energy flow and the blood to the brain.

I just don’t belief the brain is made for standing on its head for too long. A great amount of blood comes flowing in at once when doing the headstand, so I think that beyond the 1 minute border - but let’s make it 2 and a 1/2 minute border - you do not gain additional benefits but do increase your risk for injury to neck, vertebrate or brains. Surely you can train your muscles and they can get used to it, but how do you train your brain and the countless of veins running there? They keep receiving that same pressure every day. So be sure when you are doing the headstand that you are absolutely relaxed, or else more pressure will go to the head.

So that’s why I want you to ask yourself, what is it that’s driving you to push your limits if it is not really bringing you anything substantially fulfilling? I think this is a proper question to ask yourself before you harm your body because you want to attain something.

With Love,
B.


#8

[QUOTE=Bentinho Massaro;21470]Hey Yalgaar,

Well I certainly cannot define your limits for you. Headstand altogether seems to me not to be as good of a pose as every yogi claims it to be. You can also do the candle one which is less risky but has much of the same ‘benefits’. Or even just bend over in a standing pashimotanasana and relax your arms and neck. I found this one to be applicable during the day and greatly refreshing and beneficial. I think it is refreshing and healthy for your body to every once in a while be upside down, perhaps once a day to get the blood flowing and the energy moving more freely, but I would not stand on my head for 2 1/2 minutes a day. But then again, if you have trained yourself to do that and you feel absolutely comfortable with it, why not.

Though my main point was, that 2 1/2 minutes or 12 minutes does not make much difference in terms of giving you ‘more health’ or ‘more benefits’. I believe 2 and a 1/2 minutes to be more than enough to reap the benefits. I think after one minute of headstand you already have refreshed the energy flow and the blood to the brain.

I just don’t belief the brain is made for standing on its head for too long. A great amount of blood comes flowing in at once when doing the headstand, so I think that beyond the 1 minute border - but let’s make it 2 and a 1/2 minute border - you do not gain additional benefits but do increase your risk for injury to neck, vertebrate or brains. Surely you can train your muscles and they can get used to it, but how do you train your brain and the countless of veins running there? They keep receiving that same pressure every day. So be sure when you are doing the headstand that you are absolutely relaxed, or else more pressure will go to the head.

So that’s why I want you to ask yourself, what is it that’s driving you to push your limits if it is not really bringing you anything substantially fulfilling? I think this is a proper question to ask yourself before you harm your body because you want to attain something.

With Love,
B.[/QUOTE]

Hello B

You have expained pretty well everything I have asked for. Thank you very much for this. I wanted to reap all the benefits of headstand which it seems I am already by doing it for 2 1/2 minutes. Your explanation have really helped me understand this more clearly. I believe now that I understand there will not be more benefits if I do it longer and maybe only risk, I wil focus my passion on something else. Thanks a lot for all your help.

Regards
Yalgaar


#9

I am happy you are at peace with this Yalgaar. The best of luck.

Bentinho.


#10

B.K.S. Iyengar says you should try to have at least 5 minutes in a headstand before even headstand variations, which can extend time aloft minutes longer. The benefits include the blood pressure variances for circulation and heart exercise ( greater BP in that area ), blood to the brain and stimulation of the pituitary. I can see that maybe less time is not enough for circulation and glandular stimulation; I do it for 5 in just the headstand before variations and it’s relaxing and enjoyable. David Coulter, who wrote an award winning ( The Franklin award for science writing ) Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, says that there’s no problem with the neck vertebrae sustaining that weight,as long at the alignment is good. He is a Micro-anatomist Phd. and a yogi. Think of the many 3rd world laborers etc. who carry huge loads on their heads-it’s all balance. I’ve been doing 5+ minutes for decades and I only have good things to report for it. There are advanced yogis who do it much longer. Namaste.


#11

hmmm… my chiro. keeps showing me studies showing that load bearing on the head DOES cause cervical degeneration. Here is one link I just googled, I will ask him for more when I’m there next.


#12

I forgot to add that I went to the chiropractor for the sole reason of finding out if headstands were something I should continue doing, mainly because I’m only about 95 pounds, 5’2" and a 40 year old female, no health problems fortunately. So, according to most doctors, I am still a prime candidate for osteoporosis, which of course I intend to prove wrong, and remain free of this problem. :smiley: After a few visits with different docs all saying the same thing - basically, “Why? Is there something else you can do to achieve the same benefits?” I changed my practice to include other inversions that I hope will bring me those benefits. Handstands and shoulder stands (the way Mr.purna teaches them, lots of blankets to preserve the cervical curve) have been working quite well for me.

Yoga is supposed to fit me, right ?

I am a beginner, so please forgive any ignorance in this matter. I just keep being told how my spine is meant to support my 6-8 pound head and that’s all.

I’d like to believe that’s true.
:smiley:


#13

I am a beginner too-with many years of a relatively intense home practice, interspersed with maybe 2-3 years of classes.I’d love to take more but it’s inconvenient to my work etc. I’m 56 and though my focus has been only on yoga since about 2001, it has always been there, even in grammar school and as a teenager, yoga was then just a means to flexibility , a component and not the main one, of an overall fitness plan designed to attract women. I am an athlete and have almost never had a day without exercise since I was 12-it’s my nature. Also my nature is to get the essence of things and study classics ( love History and Literature, especially ancient ), so I study, and what I say here is not my opinion alone but B.K.S. Iyengars and Dr. Coulter, it’s because I have read their books and reread to make sure of what I say. I would never recommend what I do personally to anyone else. I went through some trial and ERROR, but came out and can report a consistently positive practice that makes me with my special problems (2 herniated disks from years on the basketball court-I quit at age 50 and a prostatectomy in 2001 ) feeling almost as good as ever I did. Prolonged sitting still makes me stiff sometimes but I can fix it. Headstands I’ve done for decades ( probably 4 )and this decade they’re usually all been 5 minutes or longer, and that’s before variations as Iyengar suggests. And without substantial arm pressure. Personally, I believe many Chiropractors are limited in what they know and I know what I do for me is much better than the different chiro’s I’ve seen could offer. Like I said- I don’t recommend 5 minute headstands to you-I know I like them and my neck is great- especially since I started doing the Fish regularly. Shoulderstand is what you need the Fish to counter-balance for. Find your own groove and my best to you. Namaste.


#14

according to http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_record_for_the_longest_headstand

maximum time in headstand has been
3 days, 9 hours, and 25 minutes ,and 35 seconds


#15

That’s a very convincing abstract, as far as it goes , but sampling 35 is not that conclusive. I’d say there is room for doubt since all carriers are not necessarily good carriers and to extrapolate to yoga, you would have to distinguish between well-balanced head-standers and those that wobble, new head-standers and experienced, warmed-up and cool etc. Most Carriers carry from necessity and early and as much as they can carry,and that should not be the case with yoga enthusiasts who approach a head-stand with venerable respect and cautiously. Namaste


#16

it’s not about how long, but how is the feeling which is most important, you can do 3 days of headstand, but if in the process you feel nothing but stressed neck, than that is not Yoga,

Yoga is about how we feel, not how long we can do it.


#17

I agree wholeheartedly, yet time carries the seed of essence for mortal men. ( forgive me , I’m right in the middle of " The Lord of the Rings " ). What I mean to say, less floridly, is that for the flowering of some asana. for some people, it may take some time. In the absence of a personal guru I take instruction from the best I know of and that would be Iyengar. I have followed his advice and profited from it : the fifth minute ‘feels’ better to me than the 4th, I only stop there because in the parlance of rishi’s ( according to Iyengar and others ) if you are a ’ householder ’ , i.e. still having a sexual life, any more starts to shift too much of the root chakra higher. I am not ready for that yet. Namaste.


#18

In particular, the headstand can, depending on your purposes, require a specific amount of time. The activation of the pituitary and the circulatory effects caused by a reversal of Blood Pressures just to name two. The reverse stretching of vertebrae, to name another, who knows what secrets lie at the heart of the headstand; I don’t. Some may, and my money is on Iyengar. Namaste.


#19

For the moving meditation of Vinyasa and Ashtanga, the feel of it is not for the headstand alone but for the flow of the whole set, which I respect and admire, but don’t personally partake of. Namaste


#20

One more thought : It may be a prejudice to think that the main purpose of the spine is to hold the head- if that’s the case then I could see that it wasn’t designed to hold any more weight- but the spine may be built with the head as just another appendage. Albeit, one we overuse/abuse. Weight may not be an issue per se. Namaste