By Evelyn Sutton
Salamba Shirshasana or Yoga Headstand is a popular yoga inversion that has been called the king of all asanas for the multitude of benefits and well-being this pose brings to the body and mind. Headstand is an impressive pose that requires patience, diligence, and strength to master. Regular practice improves balance, mood and confidence while strengthening your shoulder girdle muscles, upper back, and core, naturally realigning the spine. Headstands also provide increased mental clarity and enhanced focus. Get inverted and elevate your BJJ game!
Get inverted in 7 easy steps:
If you are just starting our an inversion practice, the safest way to get upside down is to use the wall for support. Over time, start taking your heels away from the wall and balancing your feet above your hips to increase core strength.
1. Place a yoga mat alongside a wall.
2. Get on table pose (all fours) and face the wall.
3. Come down onto the forearms and interlace your fingers. Your knuckles should be about half-inch away from the wall; keep your elbows no wider than your shoulders.
4. Place the crown of your head flat on the ground, and cup your hands around the back of your head.
5. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the ground so that your pelvis is elevated and legs are as straight as possible with a slight bend in the knees to accommodate hamstring flexibility level.
6. Slowly extend one leg up to the wall. Repeat with other leg. Keep your heels on the wall and flexed feet. Hold position for 5 breaths.
7. To come down, reverse the move by bending your knees and curling them into your chest, one at a time. Take child’s pose to round out the spine and rest for another 5 breaths.
As you become more confident in your headstands, begin to move away from the wall. Eventually, you’ll be able to get into this inversion without using the wall at all. Take one step at a time and don’t rush your practice. Allow your body to get used to being upside down and build up the necessary balance and core strength required to execute the full expression of the pose, overtime.
Please note: Yoga is a universal practice and accessible to everyone, however not every yoga pose is the right pose for you. Inversion moves, including headstands and shoulder stands, are regarded as a special category of asanas that should be practiced with extreme care.
If you had any recent issues or surgery on your neck, spine, or shoulder; hypertension; glaucoma; and heart issues, avoid inversions all together. Pregnant moms-to-be should also not attempt the posture. There is a risk of falling out of the pose and that can be dangerous to your growing baby.
If you’re curious about inversion work being the right approach for you, ask your doctor before incorporating them in your practice.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
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