By Lauretta Furlonger
Headstand, or Salamba Sirsasana, is referred to as the “King” of poses. This wonderful inversion develops strength of the whole body and has a calming effect on the brain. Circulation is improved because the headstand gives the heart a rest and reduces unnecessary strain.
Not all beginners feel the same way as I did about going upside down for the first time. Some of my students tell me they are afraid of being inverted and aren’t sure of how to practise. So I put together this quick guide to headstands – it provides a great way to start working on this inversion, and feel like a king!
One of the mistakes I sometimes see when students perform the headstand is keeping their palms open and letting their head rest in their hands. You should imagine you’re holding a tennis ball between your palms and place the crown of your head at the base of your palms right at the wrist crease. The majority of your weight should be on your forearms, and not on your head.
Using a wall for support, have your arms and head about 5 inches from the wall. Kneel on the floor and set the forearms on the floor, only as wide as the shoulders. Draw your finger tips together like a pyramid and then lace your fingers. When you do this, engage your shoulder blades and press the tops of your shoulders down, away from your ears. Place your forehead in the right position.
Tuck your toes under, lift your hips upwards, and start walking your feet in as close as you can, so your hips come over your shoulders. You may feel like you’re going to topple forward, but as long as you’re pressing firmly into your forearms and outer wrists, and engaging your core, you will hold your balance.
Slowly lift your knees up towards your armpits and allow your lower back to come to the wall. Press firmly into your elbows and start walking your legs up the wall, until they are straight.
To come out of the pose, slowly bring your knees back towards your chest and lower your feet to the floor. Rest in child’s pose to recover.
Disclaimer: As with any exercise, please seek doctor’s consent prior to practising this yoga pose. It is suitable for those with sufficient amount of strength and balance. Ensure you have adequate space to practise, and discontinue the exercise if you feel any adverse symptoms. Beginners may benefit from learning this exercise under the guidance of an instructor.
I teach weekly Vinyasa and Ashtanga classes which can help with burning body fat. If you’d like to practise yoga to help with weight loss or to complement your current training,you might find these classes suitable. Please get in touch for more information.
Trinity Tree Yoga
Tel: 07415 507 266
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Founder and editor of FitNet.
Previously gymnastics coach, massage therapist and personal trainer with 20 years of experience. Former gymnast and dancer.