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How to do a Headstand for Beginners

A headstand is an intense display of upper body strength. To attempt it without proper preparation could lead to severe personal injury or permanent damage to your body. It is also probably not best for you to jump into something like the headstand without having any idea of what you’re doing. It’s important to build on your core and shoulder strength before attempting to learn how to do a headstand for beginners. This is one of the more enjoyable and extreme gymnastics moves to master, and it’s best to have someone with you to spot you when you’re first learning on the process of a beginner’s headstand. People commonly feel refreshed and revitalized after being in an inverted position such as the headstand.

Preparing to Enter the Headstand

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  • While facing a sturdy wall, lower yourself onto your elbows and knees.
  • Keep your hands together in front of your head and place the center of the top portion of your head down onto the mat.
  • Make sure that you never put the back portion of the top of your head down on the mat.
  • If you can’t go exact center, further to the front is acceptable.
  • Keep your elbows fairly close together by lining them up under your shoulders. Keep your breathing controlled and steady.
  • Now, straighten your legs by lifting your knees and buttocks and bringing your heels off of the ground. Rock back and forth on your toes a bit to get loosened up.

Entering and Exiting the Headstand Pose

The last step to learning how to do a headstand for beginners is to actually do the headstand.

  • Start walking your feet, on their tiptoes, closer and closer to your head.
  • Once it feels right, lift one of your legs up to the wall.
  • Let your other leg follow the first one up; this is a great time for your spotter to step in and help you straightened up.
  • While you’re in this pose, take some deep cleansing breaths. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes and count to five.
  • Don’t stay in an inverted pose like this for too long at a time.
  • Make sure that you do this slowly and in a controlled way.

Part of learning how to do a headstand for beginners is to learn how to make every movement involved steady and controlled. It keeps you from injury as well and helps strengthen your body against its own natural resistance.


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How to do a Headstand Yoga

Sirsasana is another name for the Yoga Headstand, which is a challenging posture within the inversion category. Other inversions include postures such as the handstand, the forearm balance and the shoulder stand. There’s a wide array of benefits to be had from learning how to do a headstand in yoga, but one should never attempt a headstand without taking the time to properly learn the correct alignment and setup for this particular yoga pose.

Preparation and Alignment

To get prepped and aligned for the headstand, get into your hands and knees.

  • Lower onto your elbows, making sure your elbows are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Bring your hands together, and interlace your fingers, making sure to tuck under your outer most pinky.
  • Lower the crown of your head down and place it on the floor, cup your head with your interlaced fingers.
  • As if you were coming into the downward facing dog position, bring your hips up over your shoulders by walking up towards your head.

The Full Headstand

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Now that you’re prepped and aligned, you are most on your way to learning how to do a headstand yoga. All that is left is to go into the full headstand.

  • Bring your knees and bring them in towards your chest while lifting both of your feet into the air.
  • Allow yourself to stabilize, and then straighten your legs. Do your best to bring both of your legs up at the same time.
  • Push up into the balls of your feet and turn your thighs inwards just slightly.
  • Push down deep into your forearms.

You should try to hold the pose for at least 10 breaths count. Congratulations, you just learned how to do a headstand yoga! To get yourself out of this pose safely, just slowly lower each leg one at a time on to the floor.

Benefits and Risks

There are both physical and mental rewards to the yoga headstand. You’ll find that this pose will increase strength in your arms and legs, as well as positive effects on your pituitary glands and lungs. Some claims state that the headstand pose can alleviate stress and depression, by changing your outward perspective of things. It is a fact that the act of acting against the gravity helps with the cleansing of our intestines. However, if you should suffer from high or low blood pressure, a heart condition, or back/neck injuries, you should not attempt this pose. People without sufficient upper body strength can also compress their spine and damage their body in doing this pose. Make sure that you are totally prepared and capable before attempting the yoga headstand.

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Yoga Handstands

In Yoga handstands make up one area that a lot of people avoid, because they can be much more difficult then any number of the other poses. But they should not be avoided. While it may take lots of practice you can learn how to do the handstand and other inverted poses.

It’s important to note that the handstand has been called the king of poses because of the benefits it brings. It strengthens the whole body, requires tremendous coordination, and it is an inversion which brings plenty of its own benefits.

Yoga Handstands

While not the best demonstation in the world, this video shows you what practicing handstands in yoga may look like (if you happen to be a very attractive female).

The handstand is not the first inversion or handbalancing pose you should work on. Far from it. There are a number of other poses that will build up your ability.

Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered Peacock Pose or commonly called the Forearm Stand)

Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand)

Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand)

Bakasana (Crane Pose)

Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Tolasana (Scale Pose)

And of course the handstand itself which is called Adho Mukha Vrksasana.

This is just like I teach in the Secrets of the Handstand System, and in fact some of the poses or drills are the same. If you want a step-by-step system to achieving the handstand check it out. Although its not geared toward yoga it will work just the same.

There are a number of variations of the handstand that can be done like the scorpion pose below, which adds extreme back flexibility into the mix. (Also note that the balance will actually be easier here then a straight bodied handstand as the center of gravity is lower.)

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Scorpion Pose

So by working with the easier poses you’ll build up your balancing ability and control you need to hold the handstand. Once you’re there you can begin to go even further with your yoga handstands.

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