Headstands! It’s a scary territory for those who have yet to venture into it, and an amazing and exciting place for those who have already practiced it and have experienced the benefits.
Headstands are in the category of inversions, whereby you’re either completely upside down or your heart is above your head. Invigorating, to say the least. I sometimes feel like I drank a good cup of coffee after I've practiced them. Going upside down is good for your circulation; it can improve digestion and reduce the normal stress that is on the spinal column. Inversions also help with building strength in the upper body (and core), increasing your body awareness, refining coordination and balance, and developing mindfulness and concentration.
In the gallery above, I cover two different types of headstands: tripod headstand and supported headstand. Tripod tends to be a bit easier for those who have tight hamstrings, because it allows you to come into it with bent legs and using your arms to help bring your legs up. Supported headstand will require that your hamstrings are open and core is strong to create lift in your legs off the floor so you aren’t kicking up and risking injury to your neck.
A warm core, warm shoulders, and open thoracic (upper/mid part of your back in between the neck and low back) spine are three key components to getting into headstands safely and successfully. It's also important to keep the core strong and tight in order to help keep you steady and balanced throughout these movements. Take a look at the quick list below for other pre-headstand essentials.
Things To Remember:
- Doing this without any type of warm-up beforehand will make it a lot harder.
- Do not kick up into this pose! It puts your neck at risk. If you find that you want or need to kick up to get into a supported headstand, then work on a tripod first and get the core strong and hamstrings open to try supported headstand again.
- Seventy percent of the weight goes into your arms and 30 percent in the head.
- Practice with a wall behind you first so you can work on balancing without the fear of falling and potentially hurting yourself.
WATCH: How To Work Your Way Up To A Yoga Headstand