Headstand is a popular pose that people are eager to practice. Some of its many benefits are that it relieves stress, improves focus, promotes blood flow to the head and eyes, improves digestion and builds core and upper body strength. Follow these tips to help you attempt a strong and safe Sirsasana.
- Start on all fours with the elbows down aligned under the shoulders
- Interlace the hands and leave a space large enough to fit an egg between the palms.
- Place the crown of the head on the earth up against the hands (keeping the imaginary egg between the palms).
- Press the forearms into the earth to take pressure off the head. Allow the forearms to bear some or most of your bodyweight. As you get more familiar with the pose, you will be able to allow more pressure to be on the crown rather than the arms.
- Keep the shoulders drawn away from the ears. Rather than pulling them down your back, let them be soft and broad while keeping the neck long. Feel the outer muscles of the scapula (the serratus anterior) engage to maintain space between the ears and shoulders. See the wrong way (left) and the right way (right) in the picture above.
- Straighten your legs and walk as close as you can toward the elbows without losing the lift in the shoulders and the space in the neck.
- Draw in your front ribs and engage the abdominal muscles. Play with floating both feet up with the knees bent (left). If it’s difficult to lift both legs together, lift one leg up as high as you can and follow it with the other (right). In both variations the key is to press strongly into the earth with the forearms while keeping the shoulders away from the ears and the core strong.
- Come up slowly as you extend both legs toward the sky.
- Press down with the forearms, allowing some pressure on the crown of the head.
- Keep the shoulders broad and the upper back strong.
- Draw the front ribs in and engage the abdominals.
- Lengthen the tailbone toward the sky and actively extend up through the balls of the feet.
- Take 5-10 deep breaths and come down with one or both legs slowly, gently placing the feet on the earth.
- Rest in child’s pose while enjoying the body buzz that you’ll feel after practicing the king of all poses.
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