A lot of people ask this question that what is the difference between headstand and shoulderstand in terms of energy?
Sarvangasana is called the Surya Mandala and Sirsasana is called the Chandra Mandala. Suryamandala means the alignment of the Sun. Chandramandala means the alignment of the Moon. So Sarvangasana has a very warming fiery effect because in Sarvangasana the focus is on the intense burning of the Jatharagni so that the body’s toxins will be burnt so that the body’s Prana will flow more efficiently. Sarvangasana and Viparithakarani Mudra both are very Brahmana in effect and will create a lot of heat in the body because of the intensification of the Jatharagni. This is also because in Sarvangasana and Viparithakarani Mudra the bandha-s – the Jalandara bandha, Uddiyanabandha and Mulabandha become possible.
In Sirsasana there is the opposite effect where there is a cooling effect, a langana effect and that is why it is called Chandra Mandala the alignment of the moon where the focus is on what is called the Moon Nectar which is present between the ajna Cakra. We are conserving the moon nectar which is a cooling energy that is present in the ajna cakra rather than burning. Also, from the postural point of view, the neck is locked in a position where it cannot move. Therefore Jalandara Bandha does not become possible in Sirsasana and because Jalandara Bandha does not become possible, the Uddiyana Bandha and Mula Bandha also become impossible. So, the Sirsasana has an effect of cooling in nature and that is why it is called Chandramandala.
Another important aspect that is often considered by the Yogis is that in Viparithakarani Mudra and in Sarvangasana the gateway to Mula opens, whereas in Sirsasana the gateway to Mula is closed. That is why in traditional times actually Sirsasana followed Sarvangasana rather than how we practice today where we follow Sirsasana with Sarvangasana. Basically the Yogis did Sarvangasana or the Viparithakarani Mudra first, where the toxins would be burnt and eliminated through the open gateway of the Mula and Prana facilitated into the Sushumna Nadi and then they would do Sirsasana as a way to contain this Prana in the Sushumna and not escape so that the mula is locked so the Prana remains in this region and that is why they would follow the Sirsasana after the practice of Sarvangasana.
The moon follows the sun. This is the very important principle and that is the energetic difference between Sirsasana and Sarvangasana.
Namaste my dear friends!
Dr.Kausthub Desikachar – Viniyoga® Teacher