We are going to take a look at this simple but challenging pose, one of the eight preliminary asanas (postures) in Hatha Yoga. There are many different ways to practice this pose, and we will learn the basic one. We will not be doing anything fancy or complicated – just sitting upright with our legs in front of us and our head in line with our spine.
Headstands are one of the more challenging asanas for a novice yogi, but they are also among the most rewarding. If you’ve been thinking about trying headstands, or if you’ve been practicing headstands and are looking for a little more nurturing practice to up your game, it might be time to try a little more advanced headstand.
Headstand is one of the first yoga poses that most beginners practice. In fact, many beginners give up on headstand on the very first attempt because of the lack of balance. This is why they call it a beginners pose. But, if you are willing to practice it and increase the time spent in it, you will find that headstand is one of the most effective yoga poses for meditation.. Read more about how to do a headstand for beginners step by step and let us know what you think. I remember taking my first yoga class in the early 90s and falling in love with the pear tree. I felt this pose was for me and I immediately found the courage to try it.
But not all people are the same. Regular exercise and a consistent practice of yoga help to build strength and self-confidence. If you want to improve your inversions, why not reach your full potential and sign up for our free 30-day yoga challenge by clicking here. This is one of the best ways to move and practice walking on your head!
The headstand is the king of yoga poses; it increases blood flow to the brain, strengthens the arms, shoulders and core muscles, and boosts energy, stamina and even hair loss!
Fear of reversals
Not all beginners feel the same as I do when I first go upside down.
Some of my students tell me that they are afraid to roll over, that they feel too weak to balance on their heads, or that they just don’t know how to do headstands without hurting themselves.
That’s why I put together this quick guide to the headstand for beginners, because I want to give you a good starting point for this amazing inversion, so you can master this pose and feel like a king!
Development of upper body and trunk strength
The first thing you need to do is develop your upper body and core strength. My favorite preparation for the headstand and many handstands is the dolphin.
For the dolphin exercise, get on all fours and place your forearms on the mat with your palms together. Pull your toes under you and lift your lower body into dog pose with your forearms. As you inhale, support yourself on your forearms and imagine your chin touching the ground in front of your fists.
Return to the forearm dog position as you exhale. Repeat 8 to 10 times and practice daily for 3 to 4 weeks.
Teaching correct hand position
One of the mistakes I see many students make in headstands is to keep the palms open and rest the head on the hands. Imagine holding a tennis ball between your palms and place your head at the base of your palms, just at the crease of your wrist.
Take a kneeling position and place this area on top of your head to feel if the placement is correct.
As you do so, squeeze the shoulder blades together and push the top of the shoulders down from the ears, contracting the rear deltoids (shoulder blades).
This is how your shoulder girdle should feel when you are in the inverted position. Most of the weight should rest on the forearms and not on the head.
Using the wall as a support
Then get back on all fours and put your forearms on the mat. Bring your head into the right position and pull your toes under you to lift your lower body. Place your hands and head about 6 inches (15 cm) from the wall and begin to place your feet as close together as possible, so that your hips are above your shoulders.
It will feel like you’re tilting forward, but that’s not the case as long as you keep your forearms and outer wrists tight and your core tense.
In this position, slowly bring your knees up to your armpits and press your lower back against the wall. Press firmly on your elbows and start pulling your legs along the wall until they are straight.
To get out of the pose, slowly bring your knees to your chest and lower your feet to the floor. Rest in the child’s posture to regain strength.
When you feel you are ready, take your feet off the wall and try to find your center line by balancing on your head. You have to actively use your legs and lift them to the ceiling, while still using your core muscles.
When you feel strong enough against the wall, you can practice doing the headstand in the middle of the room, but only when you’re ready. You can always ask a friend or teacher to tag you, and you can also remove yourself from the pose if you go too far. Try not to bend forward when standing on your head, but control the lift – this will strengthen your abs and prevent injury.
Feel free to ask me questions as you work on this reversal, and good luck! If you’re looking to do something different to stretch your body and strengthen your core, then headstands are probably a good starting place. If you’ve never tried headstands before, here’s a beginner’s guide for you.