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October, 2015



Yoga for Health by



Diana Penny

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of Yogawest ( Yoga Pose of the Month: Sirsasana - Headstand


The last couple of months have been about inversions (upside down poses) and October is no exception. Sirsasana (Headstand) is sometimes called the king of all poses. Headstand counteracts tiredness, improves concentration and boosts self confidence. You should learn it in class: it’s not for beginners and when practiced incorrectly, it can do a lot of damage to the neck, so be sure to study with a qualified yoga teacher. Once you’ve learned it in class, this will help you understand the action. Beginners can practice the first part only, up to picture 3, stopping short of lifting up. Medical benefits: First and foremost, Sirsasana, when practiced correctly, oxygenates the brain — it can also help those with memory loss. This pose strengthens the back; it helps those with arthritis of the lower back, dorsal region, and shoulder joints as well as dealing with lumbago, sciatica, and general backache. It also works on the legs; any experienced yoga practitioner who has had the misfortune of spraining a knee or an ankle knows how effective this pose is at bringing down a swelling or inflammation in these joints. Varicose veins and coccyx pain and displacement can also be reduced. Other conditions that greatly benefit from Headstand are diabetes, displaced uterus,


epilepsy, umbilical hernia, inguinal hernia, impotency, anaemia, appendicitis, insomnia, kidney problems, menstrual disorders, prostrate problems, tonsillitis and duodenal ulcer. Always practice this pose regularly in equal measure with your shoulderstand (Sarvangasana – shown in August 2015 issue). Headstand should follow shoulderstand. 1. Start by practicing against a wall. Kneel down in front of a wall. Interlace your hands. Place your elbows shoulder-width apart on the floor and then place the outer edges of your interlaced hands on the floor, touching the wall. 2. Place the crown of your head on the floor, inside your hands. 3. Raise your hips and straighten your legs. Pull your upper back away from the wall, press your forearms down and lift your shoulders away from the floor. 4. Come up, one leg at a time. 5. Place your feet but not your buttocks on



the wall. To avoid compressing your neck, secure a strong base: continue raising your shoulders up and pressing your shoulderblades in toward your chest. Touch the inner edges of your feet together and stretch your legs up. 6. Gradually move away from the wall, a few inches at a time until you can balance without support. Don’t be in a hurry to do this. Work diligently and methodically to develop strength and balance. practice note: Sirsasana is not for beginners. In an Iyengar class, we teach this pose once we can see you have build the appropriate upper body strength and understanding (usually a few months down the line). Until you are ready to begin learning headstand, practice Standing Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose (Prassarita Padottanasana) – see pic 7. Drawings and posture text reproduced by kind permission of Bobby Clennell, a senior Iyengar teacher in New York.

Young people urged to be part of neighbourhood working group THE Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership is urging young people to get involved in local decision making. A young people’s working group has been established, with its first meeting held in July, which saw the attendance of students from Cotham School and the Bristol Youth Council. But councillors are keen to recruit more people. Cotham councillor Dani Glazzard, who has been involved in the group, says

that not enough young people are engaging in BCRNP forums and meetings, so their views are not being represented at a local level. Councillor Glazzard said: “It’s important that the work we are doing as councillors is representative of the people living in the area, and everyone’s needs are being met in the community. “However, young people are not feeding in their views and ideas to us, so we need to find ways we can better engage with this group.

“We need to speak in ways that are relevant to young people, make them feel integrated in the community, and find out how they would like to be involved in local decision making.” Bishopston councillors Tim Malnick and Daniella Radice said: “When we look around the room in some of our local decision making groups and committees, we are all getting on a bit. “This is good because there are some engaged and highly experienced local volunteers,

but it’s not so good because we really want local decisions to reflect the whole community’s views and younger people are often under-represented in these sorts of groups.” If you are – or know – a younger person living in the area, who would like to shape local priorities and decisions, contact your local councillors Dani Glazzard (dani., Tim Malnick (tim.malnick@bristol. or Daniella Radice ( uk).

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Bishopston Voice - October '15  
Bishopston Voice - October '15