How do you do a headstand?

Working towards an inversion in yoga is always both exciting and scary, whether it be wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana), handstand (Adho Mukha Vrikshasana), headstand (Sirsasana), or forearm stand (peacock Pincha Mayurasana).

I am able to come up into handstand and forearm stand, but rely heavily on a wall as my safety net and cannot balance on my own without it. As for headstands, I can move into a tripod headstand, but somehow supported headstand is just “impossible” for me, although it’s said to be easier.

With the help of one of my yoga student and co-worker Karen, I have been journeying through the ups and downs of supported headstand this past month, and I’m happy to say that when I finally had everything aligned, I was able to move into it!

Tips:

1. The problem I encountered was finding where to balance on my head. I watched numerous videos online, and they all said find the “crown of your head”. That can be very different for everyone, as our heads come in different sizes and shapes. I was able to find mine when I went into teddy bear pose (picture courtesy of Lululemon):

2. Crow pose is a great way to prepare yourself for teddy bear pose, and in turn strengthen your arms for headstand.

3. Once you can do teddy bear pose and find the crown of your head (it’s the same point that you balance yourself in teddy bear pose), you can come down and move into Dolphin (photo courtesy of Yoga Journal):

4. Clasp your hands together on the mat, and place the crown of you head in the between. Now walk your feet as close in as possible, until you feel your back is straight up in the air.

5. Some say that you shouldn’t hop, but rather feel the lift through your core. I will need to do more core work as I tend to do a little barely noticeable kick off the ground. Then I keep my knees bent and start to balance through my head and forearms.

2013-04-08 21.15.13

6. Once steady, I lift up my legs slowly and keep on breathing!

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7. I find that this pose helped me find my lift through the core and where to contract my abdominal muscles that I was able to go into forearms stand without the wall for about 5 seconds! Again, more work and practice needed…

Here’s my little experiment, as I still need to gain some confidence before moving away from the wall. Please excuse my “zebra pants”, as David calls them, but really they are snow leopard prints!

2013-04-08 21.19.06

headstand scorpian

Happy inversion everyone! Next thing for me to work towards: arm balancing postures!

Sneak peak here: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2479

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