Sirsasana 1 and 2: Which Yoga Pose Is Better?

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Between Sirsasana 1 and 2, neither pose is definitively better than the other.

It’s all a matter of understanding the differences and why your yoga practitioner advises you to learn both.

If you’re a beginner at the headstand pose, these two Sirsasana variations will help you perform a full headstand with ease. Ready to learn how? First, let’s hop into the main differences and key benefits of each Sirsasana pose.

Differences Between Sirsasana 1 And Sirsasana 2

You might have already tried doing a headstand Sirsasana in one or two yoga classes.

It’s common to find that some students will prefer the Sirsasana 2 as a more comfortable position for their head, arms, hands, and even neck than the Sirsasana 1.

There is a reason for this, though. And you’ll learn all about it here:

Key Points About Sirsasana 1

The Sirsasana 1 variation is a closed chain movement, where your hands are brought together, and your fingers are interlaced. In effect, this results in a closed circuit of your forearms.

  • The first headstand taught in yoga practice.
  • Your forearms form part of the foundation.
  • More stable than Sirsasana 2
  • Strengthens your shoulders for arm balances and inversions
  • Students have a harder time performing the Sirsasana 1 if their shoulders are tight.

Benefits of Sirsasana 1

  • Provides energizing effects to your body.
  • It helps increase concentration and memory.
  • It returns blood to your brain and heart and refreshes your lymphatic and cardiovascular systems.
  • Provides renewed energy and mental clarity to your body.
  • Promotes a positive atmosphere and increases wellness.
  • Relieves asthmatic symptoms.
  • It can help open your third-eye chakra (Ajna), increasing intuition, spirituality, and psychic ability.

Key Points About Sirsasana 2

The Salamba Sirsasana 2 variation, also known as Tripod headstand, is an open-chain movement, where your elbows move in and out.

  • Your hands are on the floor while your arms are bent at 90 degrees.
  • Requires more upper body strength to perform.
  • A Tripod headstand pose will be wobbly if your upper arms and shoulders are weak.
  • Since the arms are straight out from the shoulders, this pose requires less flexibility.
  • Harder to perform a Salamba Sirsasana 2 if you have weak arms.

Benefits of Sirsasana 2

  • Helps relieve headaches.
  • This position increases focus, mental clarity, and concentration due to increased blood flow to your brain.
  • Energizes your body.
  • Stimulates your pituitary glands.
  • Returns blood to your heart and brain, which also refreshes your lymphatic and cardiovascular system.

To Make Things Clear

Both yoga poses provide amazing health benefits to your body and the nervous system overall. However, what truly differs from the other is the body part or muscle used to perform each pose.

Sirsasana 1 requires stronger shoulders, while Sirsasana 2 requires stronger upper arms.

Ultimately, if you want to perform a full headstand, you can’t simply focus on doing one Sirsasana pose. It’s important to learn both poses to bring better balance to your body.

Don’t worry, though! The next section will discuss how to perform each pose and tips on progressing gradually into a full headstand!

Safety Reminders Before Doing a Sirsasana Headstand

Sirsasana 1 and 2 are fairly advanced techniques you’ll encounter in yoga classes.

As awesome as it looks, it’s important to practice these variations safely and without causing injury to your neck and head.

That being said, here are some safety reminders before performing each yoga technique:

  1. If you have any neck, upper back, or head injury, we don’t advise trying to perform any of the variations mentioned here. Although both headstand variations have numerous benefits, it’s not worth the risks and strain it places moving forward. Consult your physician before performing a headstand.
  2. Don’t jump into the full headstand position. Instead, take gradual steps in learning how to perform each yoga headstand. It’s best to start with the supported yoga headstand position before diving into other variations.
  3. If it’s your first time performing a headstand, don’t simply rely on your upper arm or shoulder strength. It’s encouraged to take a few yoga classes first where a yoga instructor or teacher can guide you and teach you how to control your balance before doing it yourself. As much as we love DIY practices, a headstand is not so simple you can “wing” it.
  4. Practice meditation at least 5 to 15 minutes before performing a headstand. If your muscles are tense, your forearms, shoulders, upper arm, and back will not be able to support your balance fully.
  5. You don’t have to lift your legs right away to enter each pose. Instead, bring your knees closer to your chest simultaneously to come into a tucked position. Then, gently straighten your legs. Lifting your legs right away may cause you to lose balance, leading to injury.
  6. It always helps to learn the headstand position against a wall for better safety. This will also help you control your strength and reduce the full weight of a headstand position.
  7. Don’t focus on achieving each asana quickly. Instead, use these variations to exercise better control.

How to Perform a Sirsasana 1

Here’s how to enter the asana (posture) of Sirsasana 1:

Step 1: First, interlace your fingers and allow your palms to touch.

Sirsasana One Step One
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrenTA2IFjI

Step 2: Rest the crown of your head on your yoga mat and make sure your head is between your arms.

Sirsasana One Step Two

Step 3: Gently move your knees closer to your torso. Tip: Don’t try and do this quickly. Take each step slow and steady.

Sirsasana One Step Three

Step 4: Shift the body weight from your feet to your arms until your torso is vertically aligned.

Sirsasana One Step Four

Step 5: Bring one knee closer to your chest and try lifting your toes on the extended leg. If you can achieve this, repeat this for the other leg.

Sirsasana One Step Five

Pro Tip: Don’t worry about getting it right the first time. Getting to the asana (posture) of a Sirsasana 1 is an advanced core strength technique, so don’t feel bad if you need to practice a couple of times.

For many beginners, the Sirsasana 1 can be a challenging pose to perform, so perhaps this in-depth, step-by-step instructional video can help you.

How to Perform a Sirsasana 2 or Tripod Headstand

To enter the asana (posture) of Sirsasana 2:

Step 1: Start by beginning on all fours.

Sirsasana two step one
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypujDkdotx8

Step 2: Place your knees at the back of your hands, ensuring your knees make contact with the heel of your hands. This is to create a three-point of awareness.

Sirsasana two step two

Step 3: Place your head’s crown onto the floor or yoga mat. Your fingers should be slightly below your head in this position, and you should align your elbows with the heel of your hand.

Sirsasana two step three

Step 4: Tuck your toes and lift your knees.

Sirsasana two step four

Step 5: Bring each knee to each armpit. In this position, make sure you aren’t straining your neck either.

Sirsasana two step five

Step 6: Gently lift one leg up and then the other leg until your body is in a complete vertical alignment. Try to maintain this position as long as you can. After, slowly lower your feet back down, starting with your knees and controlling your descent.

sirsasana two step six opt

For a complete video tutorial, you can check this video here.

Final Words

If you suffer from high blood pressure or heart palpitations, please seek medical advice beforehand.

Performing a Sirsasana 1 and Sirsasana 2 is not about strength but rather a technique that helps you practice better control within yourself. To help you get started, try practicing several leg variations here along with the following poses:

Furthermore, don’t forget that even 5 minutes of simple breathing and meditation can greatly help perform each variation with more ease.

Dr. Sandra Johnson received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Cornell University. She then went on to graduate studies at New York University before attending Rice University School of Medicine, where she graduated with an M.D. degree. She completed her training in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for internship and residency programs. Dr. Johnson went on to Harvard University in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, completing her residency program. Dr. Johnson is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.