Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a beginner, inversions or upside down yoga poses like headstand probably excite and scare the hell out of you. Although daunting at first, there’s something extremely liberating in trying, trying again, practicing . . . and finally nailing that inversion pose you’ve been working on for what feels like a lifetime.
Physically, you feel ready ready to grow into your inversion practice and finally take on the challenge of a headstand. But mentally, you can’t get past the image of your legs flailing wildly through the air before crashing down to the ground with a big, anything-but-graceful . . . THUD.
Odds are, you’re going to a take a tumble (or thirty) during the process of learning how to do Headstand Pose. However, the most important thing to understand with this practice is that you can’t fear failure. If falling is the only thing on your mind while practicing, it’s quite obvious what the universe is going to present you with falling!
Instead, focus on succeeding. Imagine nailing that headstand. Make it the clearest thought in your head. Have courage in yourself and concentrate on reaching your goal. If you’re not too keen on the idea of throwing yourself upside down in the air using just the power of thought, there’s an easier way to accomplish this exhilarating inversion.
Prepare yourself for Headstand by practicing the five yoga poses below:
1. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is known to be one of the most restorative all-over stretches, as it stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches of the feet, and the hands. It’s a fantastic pose to prepare for Headstand because it strengthens both the arms and legs.
How to Practice Downward Facing Dog:
Start on all fours with your hands slightly past your shoulders
Plant your palms, pressing actively through each fingertip
With your feet hip-width distance apart, tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back
Keep your knees bent at first to lengthen the spine, then straighten the legs as much as possible
Hold for ten breaths
When starting on all fours, the creases in the wrist should be parallel to the top of the mat
If your spine is rounding, bend your knees generously
High Plank Pose is great for strengthening and toning the entire body. It develops core strength and stability. High Plank is an amazing pose to help prepare for Headstand because it strengthens the core and arms.
How to Practice High Plank Pose:
From Downward Dog, shift forward into the top of a push-up (shoulders stacked directly over wrists)
Your body should make one straight line like a plank of wood
Spread your fingers apart and press your fingertips and palms firmly into the mat
Engage your core strongly and lift your hips slightly as you draw your navel in towards the spine
Hold for ten breaths
Keep the body in one straight line from shoulders to heels. Do not let the hips or butt sag
Keep the neck in line with the spine and gaze slightly just beyond the front of the mat
Keep a micro-bend in the elbows for increased strength and joint support