Want to Stand on Your Head? Headstand is there for you!
For many people, the simple thought of standing on their head bring subconscious fear. They just look down to the floor, imagining an upside down and then they give up before trying to practice this sequence. There are many such reactions I come through in my life and believe me I also carried the same feeling before I start practice this amazing pose. But, do you know this pose is called as the King of all poses and it has multiple benefits? Yes, ancient rishis and sages claimed that every minute spent in a headstand added a day to your life and
The reality is if you keep some important considerations in your mind, not only will you not suffer from any injuries, you will experience many benefits. Follow the instructions and if you practice these poses regularly, you’ll feel excited to invert, believe me!
Before we move into the sequence let us know some great benefits of practicing this asana.
- This inverted position of headstand flushes fresh nutrients and oxygen to the face, creating a glowing effect on the skin.
- Due to the increase in the blood flow and nutrients into your head and scalp, hair fall gets reduced.
- Since the adrenal glands are flushed and detoxified, you create positive thoughts. Depression, stress, and anxiety will reduce as you get upside down and smile will come to your face.
- This pose develops strong core muscles and eliminates chances of strokes.
- It also provides strength to your neck, shoulders, and spine.
Now, let us know some preparatory yoga poses to build strength and courage for practicing Headstand.
- Standing Forward Fold with Clasped Hands
It relieves stress in the shoulder, back and neck muscles. It improves blood circulation and metabolism, stretches the muscles of the back and the spine.
From a standing position, fold your body over at the crease of the hip with the spine long. Relax neck and keep your crown of the head towards the mat. The feet are rooted into the mat. The toes are actively lifted. The spine is straight. The ribcage is lifted. The chest and the thighs are connected. The sacrum lifts up toward the sky in dog tilt. The fingers are interlaced behind the body and the palms are together. The arms and elbows are straight. The shoulder blades rotate towards each other as the hands move forward (away from the lower back). The gaze is down and inward.
- Naukanasana (Boat Pose)
Walking into headstand requires strong abs. This pose helps to strengthen the back, abdominal muscles and improves stamina. It also improves the blood circulation.
Lie on your back with your feet together and arms beside your body. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, lift your chest and feet off the ground, stretching your arms towards your feet. Your eyes, fingers, and toes should be in a line. Feel the tension in your navel area as the abdominal muscles contract. Keep breathing deeply and easily while maintaining the pose. As you exhale, come back to the original position. Relax and repeat this procedure for 3-4 times.
- Dolphin Pose (Makarasana)
It stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and strengthens the arms and legs. This is one of the best preparatory exercises for headstand as it develops arm and core strength.
Start in downward dog pose and then lower your forearms as you continue to shift your hips up and back. Point your tailbone up to the sky, relax your head and keep your shoulders away from the ears. As you press your chest toward the thighs, spread your hands wide or alternatively, grip your hands together while staying on the forearms. Continue this with 7-10 repetition while holding your breath for few seconds during the pose.
The above three yoga poses helps you to prepare mentally and physically to practice headstand yoga sequence. In this sequence, rather than moving directly to the inversion, I always prefer to walk into the pose. For beginners, it’s always advisable to practice with the support of the wall to avoid falling down. The practitioners suffering from neck injuries should avoid the practice.
So, let’s start the practice with a promise to never force your body.
- To begin, bring your mat to the nearest wall. Place the shorter edge against the wall.
- Come to sitting position and Interlace your fingers. Now, tuck your head down to the ground in front.
- Place your hands at the top of your head on the floor so that your palms are cupping the back of your head.
- Lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs. Walk with your leg towards your face as much as you can, trying to shift the weight of your hips over your shoulders. Hold here for few deep breaths.
- Bend one knee and tuck it into your chest. Hold for few seconds and then switch to another side.
- Now shift both your hips over your shoulders, tucking both knees into your chest, hold them for few breaths.
- Raise your legs and keep them straight toward the ceiling. Keep your legs straight enough to increase flexibility in your hamstrings and lower back, and draw your navel toward your spine to work your abs. Your body must be in a line.
- Hold here for few breaths and get a feel of your upper body. You’ll feel your upper body burning after holding for a while, which is exactly what you want.
If you practice headstand regularly with the wall as support, slowly and steadily you’ll gain enough core strength and flexibility to practice this sequence without the support of a wall and as natural as standing on your feet. Your neck, shoulders, and spine will get strengthened, and you will feel most of your weight passing through your crown.
“It’s not your history but your presence on your mat that matters”- Sri Pattabhi Jois