Source: Yoga Glo
The headstand was the first inversion I learnt in yoga. Well technically, the downward dog is also an inversion but this is the first inversion in which my legs were off the ground. The headstand is also known as the Salamba Sirsasana. This move requires some fearlessness, a straight back and some core strength.
Alicia demonstrates her headstand here. Her body is not fully straight but actually you get a lot of stability even if you’re not ramrod straight. She goes into her headstand from a pike (i.e. with legs extended out) but that requires quite a lot of core strength. I found that the easiest way is to tuck your legs into your body first, like so:
I used to raise one leg into the air first, followed by the other, but a teacher whose class I took in Sydney told me that it wasn’t working out so well for me because I was twisting my hip to one side. I wasn’t flexible enough so my hips were not square when I lifted one straight leg into the air. As such, this method of tucking both legs in first would be more appropriate for me.
Now let me show you the other variations we tried with our headstand. Some were successful but others clearly need more work!
This is Alicia’s wide leg headstand. This is another method of getting into a headstand. From the floor in a downward dog position, just widen your stance to a side split until your toes are grazing the floor, then lift your legs up from the side of your body. I think this is quite an effortless method to get up into a headstand and doesn’t require a lot of core strength.
This is her tripod headstand. I find this to be more difficult than the normal headstand because there is quite a lot of pressure on my head. I think this is not a pose to be held for a long time.
Here I am struggling with a lotus headstand. I can’t figure out how to stuff my leg underneath the thigh of my other leg. Another variation I struggle with is the eagle headstand because it’s actually very confusing and I cannot figure my legs out when I’m upside down!
Anyway, to sum it up, I think the key to doing a headstand is actually the back. From what I see, people usually struggle with it because their backs are rounded. After the back, the next key muscle is the core. Tightening your core will help you hold your legs up in the air. Holding the headstand for a prolonged period will help to tone the stomach, which is even more essential for the handstand, which I’m working on at the moment.
Do you find headstands easy or difficult?