How To Do A Headstand

The Headstand is popular in a lot of Yoga practices and it does have its benefits but it’s less useful for building the relevant foundations for handstands than people think.

Learning to headstand is good for gaining some awareness upside down but if you’re thinking that learning to headstand will help you learn to handstand better, you’re going in the wrong direction.

Handstands involve a lot of shoulder strength to perform them. When practising a headstand or learning to headstand, your weight is spread between your head and your hands or elbows, whichever technique you’re doing. This does not build the specific shoulder strength you need for handstands.

People teach headstands in different ways with different techniques. There’s no technique that is necessarily ‘WRONG’ but we believe there is a method that is more safe, efficient and effective for the body (in general).

Our preferred method is what we call the ‘tripod method’. With this technique, you are able to spread the weight evenly between your head and your hands.

Step 1 – Make sure you have a solid but soft surface to start with (a yoga mat, carpet or something similar would be a good choice) you don’t want the surface to be too hard (like concrete) or too soft (like a cushion).

Step 2 – Kneel down and place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

Step 3 – Place the top of your head on the floor, making sure you’re not resting on your forehead or too far back on your head. You want your head and your hands to make a triangle on the floor.

Step 4 – Start straightening your legs, pushing into your feet so your hips and bum sticks up in the air.

Step 5 – Walk your feet slightly closer towards your hands with your legs in a slight straddle position. You should have more weight in your triangular base (hand, hand, head) as your hips will more on top.

Step 6 – Then, depending on your level of ability…

EITHER bend the knees and do a baby jump to stack the hips fully on top of your base, making sure your weight is shared evenly between both of your hands and your head.

OR push more into your hands as you lift your legs off the floor.

Step 7 – Adjust how much you’re pushing into the floor with your hands to control the balance.

Step 8 – Lower your feet slowly back down to the floor in a controlled way to exit the headstand.

DOs and DON’Ts

  • Make sure you have enough space.
  • Make sure you know how to fall out of this move safely, if you go over the top, whether this is doing a forward roll out or putting your feet down into a ‘bridge’ position or simply falling onto a mat.
  • Try to keep the weight evenly distributed.
  • Whether you‘re trying to lift or to jump, make sure you’re working at a safe and comfortable level for your own ability.
  • You can make a variety of positions in the air with your legs but we recommend to start with a straddle position because it’s more stable.
  • Imagine pushing the floor away from you with your hands and head, trying to be as tall as you can.
  • Don’t let the hips go too far over your base when jumping or lifting in.
  • Don‘t relax or crumple in the neck, head or arms. It’s important to keep your neck solid and stable.