Headstand // Sirsasana
In this article, we build our mind muscle connection and deepen our understanding of the headstand by exploring what parts of our body create, support, and strengthen this posture.
How to Headstand
What We Use
Poses to Prepare
Forearm Table Top to child's pose
Downward Dog (add. plank knee tucks)
Cat Cow Breath
Thread the Needle from Table Top
Slow Leg Lowers
How to: Forearm
Place your yoga mat facing the wall for extra support.
Start in Table Top Pose on all fours, facing wall.
Come down onto your forearms, elbows under shoulders.
Interlace your fingers. Place the TOP (crown) of the head in front of hands so that interlaced fingers support back of head (cup around it).
Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the ground. Walk feet in to elevate pevlis over shoulders.
Lift your shoulders away from the floor, creating length in your neck.
Stabilize body and root through forearms as you bend one knee, engaging core to bring to chest. Heel reaching to glute.
Repeat with the other knee. Point your feet, and rest your pelvis against the wall.
From here, slowly extend one leg up, then the other. Sneezing legs together, flexing feet.
Try to hold this position for 5 breaths.
Then, come out in reverse. Bending your knees and curling them back into your chest one at a time.
Rest in child's pose.
How to: Tripod Variation // Sirsasana II
Begin on all fours.
Place the crown of the head to the ground creating an equilateral triangle. 3 points being right hand, left hand, and crown of head.
Tuck the toes and walk the feet in trying to stack pelvis over the shoulders.
A right angle is created from shoulders to elbows and elbows to hands.
Keep the chest open and space between ears and shoulders.
Slowly place right knee to left upper arm.
When balance is felt, slowly bring left knee to left upper arm.
We are focusing on core engagement and tuck knees to chest and bring heels towards glutes. Effectively lifting knees from arms.
Point and extend legs to ceiling flexing feet. Creating a straight line from crown of head to the feet.
Come down by tucking knees to chest, resting to upper arms. stepping feet to earth.
Rest in childs pose.
Modifications & Warnings
Inversions aren't for everyone. If unsure always consult with your physician prior to practicing. proceed with caution.
You can practice on the wall or with a partner spotting, and assisting in your movement.
If pressure on top of head is uncomfortable you can practice on thin blanket. be sure that the blanket is flat and even under all areas that connect with the ground. (Ex. Blanket under head AND hands as not to create an imbalance.)
Stay aware of your body. While discomfort can be felt when practicing new movements, pain should never be felt. Stop and consult a physician if pain is felt.
Click below to discover drills that can help us gain the strength and mobility to get into headstands, holding longer and with more precision.
If working in forearm variation and you have trouble getting up and holding practice walking up.
Setting up head and forearms, walking feet up to stack hips over head and focus on your core engagement.
Walk down slow, rest in childs pose and repeat.
If working in tripod variation, practice placing knees to uppers arms and holding there with a focus on core engagement.
With or without wall behind you, set up for a headstand.
Walk the feet in, stack the pevlis.
Use the core to tuck both knees to chest at the same time. Avoid jumping motion, but rather tuck and lift.
Hold with knees tucked. core engaged, and length in spine for 3- 5 breaths.
release legs slowly to earth, rest in childs pose and repeat.
"L" Wall Holds
In all fours, face away from wall and set up into forearm headstand.
Walk feet up the wall.
Stop when heels are directly across from hips, legs parallel to ground.
Hold for several breath. Begin with 3-5. Rest in Childs Pose.
Rooting through forearms.
Lengthen neck, space between shoulders.
Slight pelvis tuck to engage core and create straight line from head to hips.
Slow Jump- Up's
Set up for forearm headstand, walk feet in, stack pelvis over shoulder
lift right leg straight into the air with a SMALL amount of momentum.
Engage core as you GENTLY jump left leg from the ground.
Find a momentary hold with legs separated, slowly return to earth.
Repeat on other side.
Over time your core will be the main mover into this drill. As core strength increases, you will need less momentum and jump to be able to lift straight legs.
Straight leg lowers
When holding a headstand become a more comfortable practice, give this drill a shot.
From headstand we begin hinging at the hips.
Moving the straight legs towards parallel with the earth.
Find a slight tilt in the pelvis and deeper engagement in the core as you strive to gracefully lower legs to parallel and lift back up.
When we are able to hold our headstand steady and strong, we can begin exploring leg variations.
Practice the splits. cross your legs or find lotus. Roll your ankles and wiggle the toes.
Do what feels good as long as we are not compromising safe headstand form.
Things to Keep in Mind
Posture // Base // Breath // Core
Skills take time to improve & also take time to build strength and COMFORT in.
When you lose balance, bring focus to your foundation. Head and forearms or head and hands. Notice where you are wavering and begin to create a mental note of where YOU specifically need to focus.
Come out of these poses the same way you come into them. Slow, controlled, and in good form.
Think about gravity when standing up. We don't accordion and slouch into ourselves, and when we do it's bad posture. We push ourselves off of the ground, lengthen the spine, engage but untense the muscles. The same must be done when we get upside down. Length from head to heels.
Thanks for Reading
Drop in the comments any questions you may have and what other poses you would like to learn!
P.S. How to videos will be linked in soon!