Breaking down SIRSASANA | headstand
I absolutely love yoga, and am so THRILLED to be able to share my passion with others and offer any insights I have. I’ve seen a lot of yoga selfies recently of people in Sirsasana ( and plenty of other precarious poses) that just downright scare me. Headstand is a pose that may take years to practice, and should be respected. I strongly emphasis practicing for the first time with an instructor.
There are many different approaches to headstand and by no means is my headstand perfect. My goal is to break down the prep pose to make the posture more attainable in steps.
Let’s start with some BASICS:
Everyone’s arms are different lengths, which means that the upper arm can look as if it is in a different position depending on the body. Double check your alignment and make sure your elbows are in line with the shoulders, and the shoulders are broad. Very few people have a perfectly straight spine. For those of us who have scoliosis, a reverse curve or have any degree of kyphosis – our asymmetries are shown more clearly when we are upside down.
If we think about our bodies as a structure that we are building, we think of the forearms and base as the foundation of the building. If the foundation has a crack in it or is built without measurements it will show up in the overall structure of the building, possibly compromising the integrity. I take headstands very seriously. From an anatomical perspective, there is a lot of pressure being put onto the crown of the head and in turn compressing the cervical spine, even if you practice lifting the crown of the head off the floor. Kicking up into headstand or splayed elbows indicates a lack of connection through the center of the body and pelvic floor– and that is where we need to find the lift and the stability.
When coming out of headstand, use the prep pose and when you touch the ground, stay down for at least 3 breaths to prevent light-headedness.
Inversions changed the blood flow, prana and are a wonderful way to build strength and balance. However, headstand should be first practiced with an accredited teacher. This break down is for those who have the fundamentals down and are looking to dive deeper into the process of sirsasana.
Begin in Virasana. Allow your energy to soften towards the earth, releasing the hips and lifting the chest. Focus on the sound of your breath and settle your energy.
Interlace your fingers but straighten your pinkies and thumbs. Place your hands on the mat, pinky fingers lengthened out. Make a tripod with your forearms, keeping elbows in alignment with your shoulders.
Place the crown of your head in between your forearms and make sure your elbows are shoulder width-apart. Broaden your shoulders, draw in your belly energy towards your spine, then lift your hips. Coming up on tip toes. Stay here, find balance in this shape. Focus on your breath and practice lifting your crown of your head up off the floor by lifting through your stomach and keeping your spine lengthened. Watch your toes and you begin to walk them towards your face.
This is first version.
As the toes come closer to the face, continue connecting through your pelvic floor and float the knees into your chest. The key word is float! If you find yourself kicking into this shape or you find yourself pouring your body weight onto the crown of your head- go back to the first version. Practice that until the knees can easily draw into the body.
This is second version.
Take the knees up overhead, and gently release your shins down towards your Sitz bones. The major joints of your body should be in alignment. Knees over hips, hips over shoulders. Keep the breath flowing, shoulders broad and lift through the abdominals.
As if you had a zipper running up through the midline of your body, draw in the energy and muscles into your center and slowly lift one shin at a time. Coming into the full expression of the posture. Breath deeply, and enjoy the view.
Thanks for being here.
“The Universe exists only through a constant dance of consistency and change. Through consistency, consciousness finds meaning: through change it finds stimulation and expansion. To find consistency within change is to embrace the unfolding flow.”
-Eastern Body , Western Mind