Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

Regular practice of asanas and pranayamas, can make us relief from all these anxiety disorders. This ancient philosophy has helped several patients to recover at a very fast pace.

Does the thought of balancing the entire body weight on the crown of your head makes you worry??? Learn all about Shirshasana yoga pose for anxiety.

I still remember my yoga colleague Johan. During my school days, my mom used to send me to yoga classes. The yoga master of the institute was very strict. He made the students learn all the poses in a perfect manner. I used to perform all the workouts to my maximum level. But the most difficult amongst that was Shirshasana. The name itself used to create fears in my mind. I used to bite my lips looking down at the floor. Johan was an expert in all these asanas. He was liked by everyone in the yoga school. My master used to scold me regularly for not doing headstand. He assigned Johan to teach me the pose. Johan was a kind hearted fellow. He taught me everything in an easy manner, that it is still fresh in my mind….

Shirshasana is a very good practice for relief from anxiety and depression. Ancient sages had said,” Every precious minute spent in practicing this asana adds a new day to your life!!”


Shirshasana for anxiety

  • Steps
  • Benefits
  • Precaution

Preparatory and follow-up poses (with steps and benefits) in Shirshasana

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Salamba Sarvangasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Virasana
  • Balasana

Variations (with steps)

  • Eka Pada Shirshasana
  • Urdhva Padmasana
  • Baddha Konasana Shirshasana

Why don’t you try Shirshasana (Headstand)?

In Sanskrit Shirsha : head and asana : pose

This is called as king of all the asanas.

How to perform headstand?

  • Start from Vajrasana (sit on your knees).
  • Now, interlock your fingers together. Keep your forearms on the floor (shoulder-width apart).
  • Slowly place the crown of your head on the ground.
  • Next, inhale slowly and raise your knees off the ground. Bring the feet closer to your elbows with your heels elevated.
  • Firm the shoulder blades and lift through the top thighs.
  • Raise your both feet away from the ground.
  • In case of difficulty in lifting the legs up. Take the help of the wall while practicing.
  • Ensure, your body should be straight line (from down to up).
  • Breathe for about 15-20 seconds or more, according to your comfort.
  • Slowly lower down the legs one by one.
  • Return to the original state.
  • Practice this for 3-4 cycles.

Time duration

You may practice from 1 minute to 5 minutes. Later after attaining perfection, you may increase the time period.

Benefits of Shirshasana pose for anxiety

  • Increases the level of digestion.
  • Treats spinal problems.
  • Best for sleeping disorders (insomnia).
  • Releases anxiety and stress.
  • Calms your mind.
  • Enhances concentration.
  • Stimulates all the body systems.
  • Beneficial for liver disease, poor blood circulation and headache.
  • Improves the functioning of brain and memory power.
  • Regulates mental imbalances.

Therapeutic applications

  • Asthma.
  • Sinusitis.
  • Infertility.
  • Insomnia.


  • The pose is not for people with heart, neck and blood pressure.
  • Pregnant ladies must avoid doing this pose.
  • Individuals with headache and backache must refrain from performing headstand.
  • Beginners should perform this under the guidance of an instructor.

For Beginners (usage of props)

Beginners may do the pose against a wall. Since, its difficult to acquire balance in the beginning. Its good to perform in one corner of the room. So the right-angle walls can touch the areas like hips, outer heels and hips.

Preparatory poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana

How to perform?

  • Come in table position, where your back forming the table top. Hands and feet forming the legs of this table.
  • Breathe out and come to an inverted v-shape. By raising the hips up, keep your knees and elbows straight.
  • Ensure, hands and shoulders are kept width apart in parallel direction. Toes should point straight ahead.
  • Gently press your hands on the ground. Extend through the shoulder blades.
  • Lengthen the neck by touching the ears to the inner arms.
  • Take deep breathes. Stay in this down dog pose for some time.
  • Then exhale and return back to the table pose.
  • Relax.


  • Energizes the body.
  • Promotes calmness to mind.
  • Tones muscles.
  • Boosts circulation to the brain.

Salamba Sarvangasana

How to perform?

  • Place two thick blankets on the yoga mat.
  • Lay down placing your head on the floor. Shoulders on the blankets in a well supported manner.
  • Keep your arms on the floor near to your body.
  • Then lift your legs in the upward direction with the support of your hands.
  • Maintain the position of your legs. Stretch them to the maximum level.
  • Hold this posture for about 30 seconds.
  • Slowly release.
  • Repeat these steps 5 times.


  • Brings flexibilty.
  • Aids digestion.
  • Lowers stress and depression levels.
  • Reduces fatigue.
  • Tones the abdominal muscles.


How to perform?

  • Start from tadasana. Now, press your feet down in to the ground.
  • Next, exhale and bend down from the hips.
  • Place your chest and stomach on the thighs.
  • Don’ t bend your knees. Make sure they are kept straight over your toes.
  • Slowly straighten your legs. Raise your hips as you straighten through the hamstring muscles.
  • On attaining a stable position. Cross the forearms, hold your elbows and hang your head downwards.
  • Then, hold your heels from behind.
  • Maintain this pose from 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Gently inhale and exhale through the entire process.
  • While inhaling lift and lengthen your torso.


  • Lowers fatigue.
  • Relief from stress and anxiety.
  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Improves alignment.
  • Tones the abdominal muscles.
  • Boosts cellular growth.


How to perform?

  • Start by kneeling down on the ground. Keeping knees hip width apart, thighs parallel.
  • Shift the excess hip width with the top level of the ground.
  • Then, bend forward and crumple the plump part of calves external with the hands.
  • Sit on the ground between the feet and exhale. Here you may use a prop in case of discomfort.
  • Bring your hands on the top of the thighs near to your knees. With palms facing downwards.
  • Relax your upper body.
  • Sit like a warrior, looking straight ahead.
  • Stay in this pose for 30 seconds.


  • Relieves gas troubles.
  • Relaxes the legs.
  • Stretches knees, ankles and feet.
  • Aids digestion.
  • Improves posture.

Follow up poses


How to perform?

  • Kneel down and sit on your heels.
  • Keep your knees hip- width apart.
  • Now, inhale and bend forward. Lay your torso between the thighs on exhalation.
  • Bring your forehead on the floor.
  • Keep your arms next to you, hands adjacent to feet and palms facing upwards.
  • Exhale on releasing the hips to the heels.
  • Stay in this pose for 2-minutes.
  • Return to the natural state.


  • Cures back pain.
  • Heightens blood circulation.
  • Relives fatigue and stress.
  • Stretches hip muscles.

Variations of Shirshasana

Eka Pada Shirshasana ( Single leg headstand)

How to perform?

  • Start from Dandasana. Keeping your back straight with legs stretched out on the front side.
  • Keep your hands in front of the nose and check for the active nostril.
  • Hold the ankle of the active side (either left or right).
  • Inhale and bend your knee.
  • Bring it slowly over the head.
  • Then exhale and place it on your neck.

Urdhva Padmasana

How to perform?

  • Keep a folded blanket on the ground. Start from headstand.
  • Next, bend the your right and place it on the left thigh.
  • Then bring the left leg and place it on your right thigh.
  • Now, the two interlocked legs resemble in the form of a lotus.
  • Stay in this position for a longer period.
  • Breathe normally.
  • Then release this posture.
  • Take rest in Shavasana for few minutes.

Baddha Konasana Shirshasana

Baddha Konasana Shirshasana steps – how to perform?

  • Start from Shirshasana. Stretch your legs wide-apart as possible.
  • From wide legs, now bend your knees.
  • Then unite the soles of the feet together. This might be a bit difficult for the beginners.
  • While doing so, try to open your knees wide to the sides.