Time for another yoga tutorial video and this time I’m covering tripod headstand. Many of my students and blog readers have expressed that headstand is something that they want to add to their practice but need a little help with mastering it. Headstand is one of the more common inversions in yoga and offers some great therapeutic benefits.
- Stress reduction
- Improved digestion
- Stimulation of the pituitary gland which in turn benefits the thyroid, pineal and adrenal glands
- Strengthens the circulatory system and improves heart and lunch function
- Can reduce inflammation/swelling in lower body, ankles
- Excellent core strengthener and stabilizer
- Develops neck, shoulder and spine strength and stability
- And some say it can even help promote scalp health and prevent/reduce gray hairs by sending blood flow and nutrients to the scalp. Clearly I need to spend more time in headstand! 😉
First things first, I do not recommend practicing headstand if you have any neck or spine issues before clearing it with your teacher, doctor, chiropractor, etc. Second, I can’t stress how important it is to maintain body control in your headstands and not to dump all of the weight into your head and neck. I cover this in the video but the purpose of the headstand is not to let your head and neck withstand the entire weight of your body. You must use the arms, shoulders, core and legs to help you hold this pose. You should be able to feel a significant difference between dumping into the head and neck and recruiting other muscles to perform the pose.
Here are my top tips for a successful headstand.
- Form a triangle as your base of support – either between the palms and the head or the elbows and the head. You cannot do a headstand with your hands out next to your ears.
- Place the crown of your head on the floor, not your forehead. Tuck the chin to lengthen the neck and rest right on the top of the head.
- Squeeze your elbows in like chaturanga arms. You will not feel supported and strong in the upper body if your elbows are out wide.
- Get your hips up over your shoulders. This is a MUST before you can fully extend the legs.
- Slow and controlled lift up. If you fling your body up you will most likely flop over in the other direction. Use your core!!! It should feel like you’re getting an ab workout as you lift into and lower out of your headstand.
- Once you are up – squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! Everything is engaged and working.
- Use the palms or forearms (depending on what variation you’re taking) to really help take the weight of the body.
- Don’t freak out! Headstands are accessible to so many people. Your age, body type, experience, etc. don’t really matter. It’s having the confidence to try. I always recommend starting against a wall or with a partner when you start out. And practice often!
This video covers two basic variations of tripod headstand and how to prep the pose, get into the pose and exit the pose.
Let me know if you have questions or feedback and I’d love for you to report back on your progress.
Is headstand a part of your current practice? If not, is it something you want to master?