aiya headstand how to

The Yoga Headstand: How-To

Yogic Headstand (Sirsasana) is a well-known, intricate-looking, yet highly beneficial asana. It offers to build, shape, and strengthen your core and shoulders, as well as increase balance in both the mind and body. 

This posture leans more to the intermediate/advanced side of the spectrum and there are some restrictions that come with the complexity of the yoga headstand. Nevertheless, it’s a great counter-posture for being on your feet for long hours or sitting most of the day.

5 Step How-To

Step 1: Begin in child’s pose. Take a few deep breaths and on your last exhale push forward into cat-cow. Place your elbows on the mat where your palms were. Grab both opposite elbows to check if your elbows are shoulder-width apart.

Step 2:  Interlace the fingers, so you create a triangular foundation for your headstand with your hands and elbows. Place the flat side of your crown on the floor. Make sure your neck is straight and comfortable and your shoulders are pushed away from your ears.

Step 3: Slowly lift your hips to the sky and straighten your legs while keeping your neck straight and triangular foundation steady. Stay here for a few breaths to adjust and prepare your body and mind for the inverted posture. 

head stand how to

Step 4: Rise to your toes and slowly walk your feet closer to your face. The closer your feet come to your face, the more you should feel your body weight shifting to your triangular foundation. Your legs and spine must be straight, and your core engaged. 

Step 5: Slowly push your hips back, more in line with your shoulders so that your grounded toes become light and you can easily bend one knee at a time. Really engage and use your core and shoulders to absorb all your weight and lift your legs off the floor. Slowly straighten your back as you push your hips further upright and over your shoulders. Keep your knees bent.

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You can either stay here or straighten your legs. If you do, make sure to keep your core engaged, hips aligned with shoulders, and a strong triangular foundation. You shouldn’t feel any tension or strain on your neck, head, or shoulders. 

If you’re doing it correctly, you should feel a full-body balance, alignment from head to toe, and calmness rushing over your thoughts.

Benefits

This posture holds some interesting benefits. Not only is this posture great for your physical health, but it also holds some esthetic benefits. Since this is part of the inverted-posture-family it does some pretty unusual things to you – it literally reverses the effects of gravity on the body. Let’s take a look at these cool rewards:

Bye Stress, Hello Brain Function

This posture, when done right, encourages relaxation throughout the whole body and mind. It can alleviate stress and worrisome thoughts by forcing you to concentrate on keeping your balance and directing focus inwards.

The most prominent thing that happens to your body when upside down, is of course the blood flowing to your head instead of your feet. This can increase brain function, long-term attention span, and helps to keep your mind sharp and clear for longer periods of time.

Not only does the opposite blood flow mean great improvements for your mental function, but your eyes also benefit from this pose. The nutrient and oxygen-rich blood that flows to your head reach your eyes as well. This action can prevent the degeneration of the tissue around your eyes.

Flush Out the System

Our bodies are so used to being upright and combining the powerful effects of gravity on all our systems can only mean one thing – clogging. Our organs, veins, and glands cannot keep up with all the stuff we expect them to filter and process. That creates build-ups and causes discomfort and diseases.

Being upside-down gives our bodies a chance to move built-up matter away from the surface where they’ve become trapped through gravity. Allowing movement in the digestive system, veins and arteries means you can improve digestion, release gases, and clean adrenal glands for a better functioning body and better hormone function.

This pose can also fight against Edema in your legs and Varicose veins in your feet. Flushing fluids away from your legs and feet means you can reduce water build-up and uncomfortable sensations caused by standing a lot and improper fluid drainage. 

Your Lymphatic system can also benefit from this yoga headstand – removing toxins from your bloodstream and carrying away waste products.

Become Strong and Beautiful

Standing on your head means your need to engage your obliques, core, and shoulders to the max. Your shoulders and arms become the solid triangular foundation your whole body balances on. Holding this posture means your shoulders are constantly flexing and becoming stronger. Aligning the body in a straight, upside down line increases muscular endurance and visibility.

Your gravity-defying blood flow also means your face is resting in the opposite direction. This causes rich blood to rush to your facial skin and causes good circulation, more oxygen, and a beautiful, healthy glow.

Believe it or not, but your scalp also reaps the benefits of this inverted asana. Your hair follicles absorb the nutrient-rich blood and stimulate hair growth.

Final Thoughts

This asana is tricky yet super beneficial, and anyone can get it right with time, dedication, and lots of practice. It’s therapeutic for your mind, strength-building for your muscles, and a full-body flushing system.

It might look daunting, but once you do your first yoga headstand, you’ll feel a sense of balance and bodily cleansing that you’ve never felt before. So, forget gravity and get upside down!

Isabel Ludick
Isabel is an avid yoga practitioner, who loves travelling, living life to the fullest, and cats. She loves living healthy and inspiring others to be the best they can be. When she's not performing her asanas or writing, you can find her at exquisite wine tastings around the world.