Headstand - Sirsasana


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Basic Instructions


  1. Lean forwards, clasping each hand around the opposite elbow and placing your arms about 20cm (8 in) away from your knees on the floor in front of you. Keep the buttocks on the heels.
  2. Keeping your elbows where they are, move your hands forward and interlock your fingers. This creates a firm triangular base with your elbows and hands, with equal weight on all three points of the triangle. Mentally affirm: “My arms are my legs” to help you to keep the maximum amount of weight on this ‘tripod’.
  3. Bend over and place the topmost part of your head on the floor, firmly pressing the tripod of elbows and hands against the mat and with your hands firmly supporting the back of your head. Do not move the elbows. Keep the neck straight.
  4. Without moving the head or elbows, straighten the knees and lift the hips. The weight is kept on the elbows. Make sure that the elbows are stationary.
  5. Walk the feet forward, trying to keep the knees straight. As the feet come closer to the head, feel the back straightening. Keep walking until the hips are directly over the head. Keep pressing the weight on the supporting tripod you have made with your arms.
  6. Carefully lift the feet off the ground, bending the knees to the chest. This requires using the abdominal and lumbar muscles. Bring the feet up to the buttocks and try to hold this position. Straighten the back. Do not try to ‘jump’ or ‘kick up’ and do not try to straighten your legs as you could easily lose balance doing this and fall straight on your back. Instead, slowly tilt your pelvis backwards until you find the point of balance in your lower back. In this position, the weight of your bent legs is balanced by the weight of your hips and buttocks. Keep as much support as possible on your forearms and hands, breathe rhythmically and hold this half headstand for up to 1 minute.
  7. Keeping the knees bent and together, slowly straighten the hips until the bent knees are pointing towards the ceiling. Feel as though the hips are a hinge that is slowly opening. Do not be in a hurry. Keep the concentration on the elbows and make sure that they do not lift off the ground. Also focus on the balance in your lower back, so that your body neither topples forwards nor backwards.
  8. Slowly straighten the knees, bringing the feet up. Remember to keep the weight on the elbows and breathe deeply.