There are five Heian forms, containing a great variety of techniques and almost all of the basic stances. Having mastered these five forms, one can be confident that he is able to defend himself competently in most situations. The meaning of the name is to be taken in this context.
Heian Shodan is the first kata we see a Knife Hand, Hammer Fist and Rising Block employed. We also see first use of the Back Stance in this kata.
"Long ago, Heian Nidan was the first kata introduced to students, but with the Shotokan school, Heian Shodan represents the entry point for learning kata. It is believed that this change was made in accordance with the level of technical difficulty involved in performing these kata. "