Learn Headstand

As promised, here is the follow-up post and video to "Learn Shoulderstand." Today I will show you how to safely prepare and move into headstand or Sirsasana. As discussed earlier, a yoga practice includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Headstand belongs to the category of inversions and is a pose that contains powerful benefits in all of these categories.

When it comes to the category of inversions, we tend to think of them as advanced practices and may be tempted to forgo them in the practice because they are a lot of work or you "just don't feel like doing them today." Well, practicing your inversions, specifically headstand (salamba sirsasana) and shoulderstand (salamba sarvangasana) is one way to get a huge benefit from the asana practice. Practiced together (within one asana session), these two poses help balance the endocrine system which gives us hormonal balance and general, all-over well-being. If you are trying to conceive, adding the inversions, as long as they are not otherwise contraindicated, are essential to add to your daily practice.

There are many methods of practicing and teaching the inversions, and it is up to you to discern what is best for you. I will outline the practice as I was taught. In this way, I teach shoulderstand first. Once a certain level of comfort is gained, headstand is added. While we learn them in that order, when including them in a yoga sequence, headstand is practiced early and shoulderstand is often the last posture before savasana (corpse pose).

The Benefits

Headstand can be thought of as the King of postures. It has masculine energy in that it is invigorating and energizing. It takes strength (and creates strength). Headstand stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands which are major hormone regulators for the body. Shoulderstand is the Queen of postures. It has feminine energy in that it is calming, introspective (you're forced to look at your body) and it stimulates the thyroid, which again is an important hormone producer/regulator in the body. Practiced together, these become therapeutic postures for a healthy menstrual cycle (note: be on the look out for my new online course Yoga Through the Month for a Healthy Cycle, coming out in January).

In the sequence below, you will learn the step-by-step practice of headstand with me. As always, it is important to work with an experienced yoga instructor as you move along.