Headstand is a pose that many yogis strive to master. Whether you’re newer to the practice or have been practicing yoga for awhile, there are some key elements that you’ll want to get down before you start working on this challenging pose.
The main thing you want to make sure you have before attempting headstand is the strength and body awareness required to hold the pose safely. A lot of people try this pose way before they are ready because they think it will make them more of a bonafide yogi. Remember, what makes you an expert yogi is knowing where you’re at today. Being great at gymnastics doesn’t make you advanced.
However, the pursuit of mastering advanced poses is something that can keep you inspired to come back to your mat time and time again. I know this has been true for myself in the past though nowadays, the reward is more of a spiritual, emotional and mental one. But nailing advanced poses can be the cherry on top!
Headstand is a great pose for the crown chakra as it directs energy up toward the top of the head where that chakra is located. Even if you are doing a modified headstand with the feet still on the ground, the energy is still heading in that direction though it might not be quite as tangible.
The crown chakra helps you to connect with Source – the greater energy in the Universe. When you feel connected to this energy, you are better able to see the big picture, know your purpose and follow your dreams without fear of what others may think.
Headstand also has these benefits:
- Improves blood flow to the head including the eyes, brain and scalp
- Relieves stress
- Helps flush the adrenal glands
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens the spine, core, shoulders and arms
- Improves focus and ability to concentrate
Now that we know all practicing headstands can do for you, let’s get into the top five poses you should be working on to gain the strength needed for a strong and safe pose. Make sure to watch the YouTube video where I put all these poses together for a full-on headstand prep flow.
- Modified boat. This is my all-time favorite prep pose for any advanced inversion because it is such an amazing strengthening pose for the core.
- Modified plank. Another great strengthening pose that targets the shoulders, arms AND core.
- Dolphin. This pose amps it up a notch for the shoulders and arms.
- Headstand prep pose. Basically a headstand but with the toes on the floor. This pose is great to build strength but also to start preparing yourself mentally for going into the pose.
- Headstand tuck. Now that the feet have lifted, practice keeping the legs in a tuck position before extending them up. This will help give you a sense of how you will balance once in the pose. You can also have your booty on a wall.
As mentioned in number 4, you will have to prepare yourself mentally as well as physically for this pose. Many of us get a bit nervous when we start to go upside down and especially when the feet leave the ground. This is all good though! When you practice these things on your mat that take courage, you are building that muscle and will be able to face fearful situations off your mat with more courage as well!
I think it’s really important to practice the headstand variation with the forearms on the ground until you can really hold the pose this way easily for ten or more breaths. Until then, you are building necessary strength so that all the pressure doesn’t impact the spine. In the forearm variation, you should only have about 10% of the weight on your head. This will protect you while you build up to more advanced variations.
Let me know in the comments of the videos how it went and where you are struggling. I always love to help and if you want more support and encouragement, join the low-cost yearly yoga membership here.
Have a great day yogi,