How many of you ever wanted to do the impressive headstand that you saw on Instagram and gain its benefits?
Sirsasana – Headstand, the “King of all poses”.
Everyone is tempted to try it, even you, right?
However, the headstand asana is not that simple, as you think.
It’s considered to be an advanced pose. And as such, it requires way more time to become part of your practice.
Yet, the problem is people have no idea how dangerous it can be if not performed correctly.
Тhe headstand offers countless benefits, that’s for sure, but preparing the body is more important before you even start thinking about it.
Now, I know you have a lot of questions you are curious about.
Keep them in mind, and you’ll get all the answers in this guide!
Never try a headstand alone
Trust a teacher to be by your side and guide you.
Inversions can be a wonderful addition to your practice. But before you ever attempt them (only under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher) you first should be well-prepared.
Get used to the idea. You will be upside down and your head will be under your feet – for some, it can be a fear to be overcome.
It’s not your natural posture so beating the fear can be the first step toward the inversion.
However, the prepared mind is not enough. Doing headstand without physical preparation can quickly lead to injuries and serious problems in your neck and cervical spine.
That’s why it’s so important to attend yoga classes or to have a one on one lesson where you will be guided by an experienced yoga teacher.
It’s vital to gain knowledge about proper alignments of the body and techniques to avoid serious injuries.
Even if you have experience in yoga, and you feel ready to move on to the next level, never try а headstand alone.
You might ask – “Why not? I can use a wall to help myself or a friend to support me. Why not alone?”
Just the thought of looking for security and help shows that you aren’t ready to take this step.
You may never be ready. The goal of yoga is not to do a headstand.
Yes, inversions are a very important part of the peak of your practice and they benefit both your mental and physical health.
But some asanas can never become part of your yoga sequence. And over time you get used to that idea.
Yoga is not about getting slim, having abs, or doing amazing pose inversions.
It teaches you to love your body and that your breath is your guru – but this takes time.
Take advantage of trained yoga teachers when you want to attempt advanced poses such as headstand.
They are in class to help you find that inner energy, to prepare you with the right instructions and sequencing for a perfect practice that suits your body, age and health.
You should know that a headstand is not for everyone
It’s a very complex pose and only 50% of the community is ready to do it.
Accepting the limits of your body is important. It’s not about comparing yourself with other people in class or with a yoga instructor who has practised for more than 15 years.
It’s about you and your nature. You can practice for a long time but never get into a headstand because of fear.
Or your health condition doesn’t allow you to do it.
It isn’t advised to do a headstand if you have serious back injuries or neck pains.
Your neck isn’t able to carry the whole body weight. In fact, with ages, the neck loses its natural curve, and balancing on your head can be a serious risk.
Also if you experience some of the following:
- Serious problems with your heart
- Pregnant women
- Weak eye capillaries
- Recovery from surgery
…and many others.
It’s recommended to avoid a headstand and consult with your doctor before attempting yoga classes.
Don’t ignore your body signs and always take care of your health.
But, if you are from the 50% who are ready to try inversions with the help of a yoga instructor, you should know that:
Headstand Benefits – Doing asanas is paramount
A stable foundation is a must to acquire strength in your shoulders and core. They carry the whole body weight during inversions.
Mastering in classic asanas is crucial for your headstand journey. The stronger you are the more protected your neck and spine will be during the headstand.
Here are some suggestions. For all of them, you can comfortably hold the asana for 8 breaths or more.
Don’t force yourself if you can’t stand that much in the beginning. Step by step you’ll get there.
- Downward-facing dog is focused on your shoulders and core muscles. It’s also an inversion asana – the heart is above the head and prepares you for more advanced movements.
- Trikonasana is a pose that prepares your neck for inversion by gazing up to your fingers for a period of time.
- Including Dolphin pose in your practice will be an excellent way to prepare your core and upper back. It’s a good way to get used to the alignments you need to keep, during the “King of poses”.
- Wheel backbend is a more advanced pose. It’s an inversion that helps in building more power in the shoulders.
Pay attention to the proper alignments of your body while performing the asanas. It will be easier for you to correct yourself during the more complex poses.
Benefits of Headstand or Sirsasana
Actually it isn’t a surprise that the headstand has such a powerful “nickname” because the benefits just don’t stop coming out of it!
Probably the most popular one is that the headstand may stop the ageing process. You not only look younger, you actually feel younger!
Also, the headstand (and overall all inversions):
- Increases the oxygen in your brain – you feel refreshed and your brain is relaxed
- Reduces both stress and anxiety
- Increases the ability to focus more easily
- Stimulates the lymphatic system which leads to cleaning your body from any toxic overload
- Reduces swelling in the legs
- Beats the fear and builds confidence
- Provides rest to the heart and cares for the cardiovascular system
- Stimulates organ functions
What if your body doesn’t allow you to practice inversions?
There is always a way to get all the benefits.
And the beauty of yoga is exactly this:
There are many variations of every asana that can be applied for any condition
You can try the “Queen of all poses” – Shoulder stand.
It’s an inversion pose that brings the same amount of benefits as the headstand. In order to do it, once again a good preparation is a must!
But if you are new to yoga or your age and health don’t make you feel ready for those advanced poses, you can always replace them!
Modifications come in hand for this case. They are a great option to relax after practice and to give your body the benefits of inversions.
Variations of headstand can be legs up the wall or popping your feet on to a chair.
When you put love and care into your practice, your body will reward you.
Moreover, speaking of care, there is something very important that you shouldn’t forget after inversion or modification of inversion.
Headstand Benefits – It is the counterpose
It is more useful to think about it as a neutralising action – pose.
In other words, the counterpose, brings the balance back in your body.
It removes the chance of potential stiffness or tension caused by the previous asana.
Also, the counterpose also brings awareness of what you have done for your body and mind.
Very good counterpose after inversions, such as headstand, is shoulder stand. It stretches your back and relax muscles.
You can do an easier asana as a counterpose. For example the “child’s pose ” (Balasana).
It relaxes the neck area, calms down the pressure, and enhances the benefits of the asana.
Always after headstand and shoulder stand, going into Savasana for a period of rest is the perfect way to complete your inversions in a practice.
Perform a headstand only with the help of a yoga instructor. It’s safer and helps to avoid serious injuries.
Also, consider your personal health and physical condition! Headstand can be replaced with other equally useful asanas – your yoga teacher can guide you on what to try.
Last but not least, preparation is the foundation of everything. Prepare yourself before and after inversions to get all the benefits.
Until you are ready enough, take your mat and enjoy your yoga trip.
By the way, which is your favourite yoga asana? Share with us in the comments, always happy to know more about our readers!