We have already discussed why the headstand is contraindicated for t >se who have elevated blood pressure. They usually become aware of discon "rt as soon as they place the top of their head against the floor in preparatioi or stage one. And if the instructor has properly cautioned everyone aga is* doing any posture which causes unusual discomfort, there will not be ny ft. THE HEA DSTAMD 453
question in the student's mind that they ought not complete even stage one, much less continue beyond that.
Most teachers also suggest that the headstand not be done during menstruation. Chronic or acute neck pain, excess weight, and osteoporosis are other obvious contraindications, as are glaucoma and other eye problems. We'll discuss the headstand in relation to right-to-lefi musculoskeletal imbalances later in this chapter.
the structure of the neck
Many teachers favor the crown headstand, feeling that placing the weight further forward creates hyperextension and strain in the neck. Others claim that this is erroneous, that placing the weight forward need not have adverse effects on the neck at all. To explore the subtle differences between the two postures, and to decide which is most suitable for your own personal practice, we must look more closely at the structure of the neck.
The neck is different from the rest of the vertebral column in several ways: it permits extensive twisting as well as forward, backward, and side bending; it contains only synovial joints between the skull and C2 (figs. 4.8, 4.10, 4.13a, and 7.1-2); it ordinarily supports only the head; and its vertebral bodies and intervertebral disks are relatively small. These features might
Figure 8.7. The bregma headstand is characterized by having the hands a little more underneath the head than for the crown head-stand, and this rotates the atlas (and with the atlas the rest of the body) on the cranium just enough to place the weight of the body about an inch in front of the crown at the bregma, the intersection Point of the parietal and coronal sutures. This Posture also pitches the Pelvis forward, and one will have to arch the ¡umbar region more than 'n the case of the crown headstand to remain balanced.
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