Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to Do a Headstand


One of the most common goals that all yogis have is to achieve the rather difficult & advanced pose called Sirsasana; otherwise known as a  headstand. This pose is very difficult for most to do because it requires a great deal of upper body strength along with deep concentration to stabilize your entire body for the perfect balance.

The headstand pose or Sirsasana is great for strengthening your core, back, legs, and arms. It also calms your mind to ease anxiety and depression. This pose also stimulates and provides refreshed blood to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands as well as improving your overall blood circulation. It also allows fresh blood to circulate around your face, flushing fresh nutrients and oxygen for glowing skin!

Here is a video from Lululemon that teaches you how the headstand in done-in about a minute and a half!

If you are a beginner to yoga, a helpful tip is to try your pose along a wall for better balance.

Here are the steps to completing a successful headstand pose according to Women's Health Magazine:
  1.  Begin by kneeling on your hands & knees on your yoga mat.
  2. Tuck your chin toward your chest and place the crown of your head onto the mat right in front of your hands. (Your hands shouldn't be touching your head.)
  3. Curl your toes under so that their cushions are on the mat, and lift your knees up off the mat.
  4. Walk your toes in toward your elbows as far as you comfortably can without collapsing into your upper back.
  5. Push down into your elbows to keep your shoulders lifting (by making space between your earlobes and shoulders) and hug your upper outer arms in for support. This might be the pose you practice for quite sometime before you attempt full headstand.
  6. Once you can hold this pose with ease for a full 8 breaths, then you're ready to move on!
  7. When you're ready to get all the way up into a full headstand, this is a great place to start: Reposition your mat near a wall and resume with your knuckles touching the wall.
  8. Come into Dolphin pose by walking your feet in towards your elbows as much as you can.
  9. Once you can't lift your hips any higher, lift one of your legs and bend the knee drawing it tight into your chest. Practice little hops off the grounded foot while trying to bring your hips to the wall and both knees into your chest. With time, simply bend one knee into your chest followed by the second and engage your core to hold the position.
  10. Once you can get both knees into your chest, focus on keeping your shoulders lifting; this will balance your weight so it's not all on your head. Your mental mantra, at this point, should be "lift the shoulders" and "hug the outer arms in".
  11. Next, with one leg at a time or simultaneously, straighten your legs up the wall.
  12. Flex your feet so that the only part your body touching the wall is your heels and knuckles.
  13. Draw your tailbone up towards your heels to engage your core and keep reminding yourself to lift your shoulders every few breaths.
  14. Start out holding here for 5 breaths and gradually work up to holding the position for a minute hold.
  15. When you're done, take one leg down at a time and bring your heels to your bottom and forehead to the ground and relax in Child's Pose.

This pose is not recommended for those who are suffering from any kind of back pain, neck injury, or back injury as well as headache or heart problems. If you have high or low blood pressure problems, then do not practice this asana. If you have any other medical issues, then consult your doctor or a yoga teacher before you perform any activity or asana.

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