Headstands can seem a little intimidating—especially when we’re just beginning to learn inversions.
However, I am happy to report, that the headstand is quite possibly the easiest of the “cool” inversions.
Headstands relieve headaches, help with hangovers and generally make us feel awesome—because, along with being cool to look at, but, as an inversion, they help the blood rush to the heart and head.
I have created a routine for us to warm up the body and float right up into a headstand with little fuss and no stress.
It is important to be warmed up before trying any inversion.
Primarily, headstands require core strength and a bit of balance.
To begin, we’ll do a round of sun salutations:
Start in mountain pose, with all corners of the feet rooting into the floor. Inhale the arms all the way up and exhale dive down into forward fold. Inhale and look up, coming into a nice flat back. Then, exhale and plant the palms and step back into plank pose. Lower down into chaturanga and inhale the chest up into upward facing dog. Exhale and lift the hips into downward facing dog.
From down dog, inhale the right leg up and step it between the thumbs. Inhale up to warrior 1. Then exhale, plant the palms, and step back to plank pose. Take a vinyasa: lower down to chaturanga and then inhale open the chest into up dog before lifting the hips back to down dog. Then inhale the left leg up and step that foot between the thumbs. Inhale back up to warrior 1. Then, plant the palms and step both feet together: Forward Fold.
In forward fold, it is nice to lace the hands behind the back and open up the shoulders.
We should be feeling warm now so we can go a little deeper into the practice.
Inhale up to stand, bringing the palms to the chest. Take a few moments to just breathe.
When ready, we’ll plant the palms down and step back into plank pose where we’ll hang out for a few long deep breaths to engage the core.
Rock onto the right hand, side plank. We’ll step the right foot back behind us for a small back bend, opening up the back and shoulders.
Roll through center and extend the right leg out into fallen triangle.
Roll through center again, coming back onto the right hand, and then arch the back and ease into Wheel Pose.
Gently come out of wheel pose, by rolling back to center, and come onto the knees. Settle in Child’s Pose for a breath.
Then, gently lace the fingers together at the back of the head. In a headstand, we don’t really need to put much weight on the head. For now, it is good to keep most of the weight on the forearms.
Make sure the crown of the head is on the floor and then lift the hips into dolphin pose (down dog on the forearms). Then, practice lifting one leg up.
Engage the core and gently bring the knees into the chest.
There should never be any real jumping.
Align the hips over the shoulders and hold the core nice and strong.
It should feel like controlled floating.
Then, be sure to do the other side, flowing through side plank, fallen triangle, and wheel before trying another headstand.
Be sure to smile in the practice and have fun! Use a pillow whenever necessary, to protect the head. And always keep in mind that everyone falls. Listen to the body and be gentle with yourself.
Author: Stacy Porter
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock