“I have a deeply rooted fear of falling on my face and busting out my teeth,” says one personal trainer who has yet to master the yoga headstand.
See, you’re not alone - even the fittest among us struggle with certain yoga poses. So if headstand is one of those poses you jussssst can’t seem to figure out, we have a step-by-step guide for your reading pleasure. We also included some detailed instructions and pro-tips on how to get into pose and stay balanced once you find your groove.
TL;DR? Skip to the video at the end of this post, or come on down to FLEX Yoga + Barre and we'll teach you. First class is free!
How to Do Supported Headstand
1. Kneel down on your yoga mat.
This one is simple - you’re already a success! If this is is one of your first attempts at headstand, you might even want to fold your mat in half for a little more cushion.
2. Place hands together on floor in a “basket” grip.
There are a lot of different ways to place your hands during headstand, but the basket grip method seems to really resonate with most beginners.
3. Put forearms & elbows down to the ground.
Once your fingers are comfortably laced, it’s time for proper arm placement. Put your forearms and elbows to the ground. Your arms will ultimately end up forming a triangle, the elbows forming the “base," shoulder-width apart, 6-12 inches from where your knees touch the ground.
4. Lower your head to the ground.
Many people find it most comfortable to place the crown of their head to the ground, but that’s not the case for everyone. It might take you a few tries before you figure out what you like best.
5. Snuggle the back of your head into the basket grip.
Here’s where that basket grip comes in handy! This hand position is much more comfortable and provides more support for novices.
6. Straighten your legs.
Start moving out of the kneeling position by straightening your legs and raising your hips to the sky. At this point, it will feel similar to being in dolphin pose.
7. Start aligning your body.
Keeping your arms and head where they are, start to tiptoe forward until your hips are stacked over your shoulders, shoulders stacked over your head.
8. Raise your legs.
Start raising one leg up into the sky, followed by the other leg. When you’re first starting out, you might need to hop lightly off the floor or even get into tuck position before extending your legs to the sky.
9. Keep going!
Slowly and steadily continue to extend both legs to the sky while keeping core, glutes, and thighs tight.
10. Straighten body, keep core tight & pelvis tucked.
Ta-da! You’re in a supported headstand! Make sure to engage your muscles, keeping your body tight and strong. Stay there as long as you feel comfortable, and then gently lower your legs back down toward the ground.
Tips to Staying Balanced in Supported Headstand
Staying balanced can be tricky, especially when you’re getting acquainted with being upside down. Here’s some pro-tips!
- Remember to breathe!
- Keep more of your weight in your arms and shoulders, and less on your head.
- Think about elongating your neck rather than scrunching it up.
- Be prepared to fall, but don’t be afraid - those wobbles are your best teachers.
- Gooooooooo slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Tips for Launching into Supported Headstand
One day, you’ll be able to raise your legs into the sky no problem! Don’t be discouraged if it takes a long time before you get there.
- Practice against a wall! This way if you topple over, you don’t have far to go.
- Work on your core strength. A strong core will do wonders for yoga practice all around.