How To Do A Headstand
Doing a headstand if you are new to the posture can be very daunting. When we were younger, we would not think twice about throwing ourselves upside down in headstands, handstand and cartwheels. But as we get older what we don't use, we lose as the saying goes. But fear not because this blog will explore and breakdown how to do headstand weather your a beginner to headstand or want new ways to try to headstand. This breakdown will hopefully make you feel more confident to try it.
BENEFITS OF DOING A HEADSTAND
Headstand has so many beautiful benefits physical, mental and on a spiritual level. Here are five beautiful benefits you may receive once you learn how to do a headstand and make it apart of your regular Yoga practice before I get into how to do a headstand.
1. Increases blood flow to the brain, face and scalp.
When we perform a headstand, we encourage the blood flow into the brain, face and scalp, meaning that more oxygen and nutrients will reach this area. We are typically upright all day, so we allow the blood flow to reverse by practising a headstand. This can also strengthen and relax any compressed blood vessels within the brain, give relief to the heart, and encourage better overall circulation to the body's upper area.
2. Enhances blood flow to the pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland is also known as the master gland within the body. Learning how to do a headstand and by practising it you will increase the blood flow to nourish and stimulate the pituitary gland that controls and works the other glands within the body such as the thyroid, pineal and adrenals. The pituitary gland releases the happy hormone also know as endorphins which lead us into our third benefits of learning how to do a headstand.
3. Relieves anxiety or other psychological disturbances.
When we do a headstand and stimulate the pituitary gland and brain, encouraging all the glands to regulate to there optimal capacity, this will help to promote the balance of the endorphin release. This helps to relieve sadness, anxiety, reduce stress and increase positive thoughts and feelings.
4. Strengthens and stimulates the lymphatic system
Being inverted in the opposite direction gives the lymphatic system and opportunity to drain the lymph from the lower body. It results in an oxygen-rich gravitational flush.
"The tissue fluids are able to flow more efficiently into the lymph canals and veins of the lower half of the body in particular. This includes the abdominal and pelvic organs, thus facilitating a robust and healthy exchange of nutrients and wastes between cells and capillaries." Nina Butler
5. Strengthens the core, upper body and spine
Learning how to do a headstand will make you feel much stronger, but it will also strengthen the core, shoulders, arms, spine and upper body in general. We use a lot of strength within the upper body to push the body up into a headstand, when we are up there, we use a lot of the arm strength and core to stabilize the pose and find focus until it gets easy for us to do after continuous practice. It is a fantastic pose to create more endurance, muscle strength and concentration.
HOW TO DO A HEADSTAND
Below I share a step by step process of how to do a headstand as a beginner or someone coming back to Yoga practice. There are a few conta-indications I would like to point out before we go into the details of how to do a headstand.
If you are suffering with unmedicated high blood pressure, heart disease, thrombosis, arteriosclerosis, chronic catarrh, chronic constipation, impure blood, kidney problems, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, ear or eye problems, or any form of blood haemorrhage it is not recommended that headstand is performed. Please do more research to be sure if you are safe to do a headstand before you attempt it if you have any underlying medical conditions. Also, speak with your doctor before you practice and always listen to your body.
*Place the forearms down on the floor and interlock the finger.
*Brind the elbows shoulder-width in distance.
*Part the palms to make space for occipital the back of my skull to rest into.
* Place the Occipital into the palms making sure you rest the crown of the head onto the floor. (not the forehead/hairline)
* Then start to tuck the toes and lift onto the knees.
* Begin to place weight onto the crow of the head, at the same time using the forwards and hands in order to also push your shoulders away from my ears and use the arm strength to stabilise.
* Proceed by lifting the knees one at a time of the floor, with bent knees walk the feet closer to the body.
* When walking the feet closer to the body continue to push into the forearms and support the neck and head especially if this area is weak until it builds more strength.
* As the feet move closer to the body the spine becomes more up right.
* With the feet closer to the body proceed to lift one foot at a time of the floor to explore how this feels in the head, neck and shoulders.
* Coming down at any time if you feel any discomfort.
*Overtime and with practice, you will build more confidence and get stronger and can try lifting both feet off the floor with knees hugging inwards arriving in your headstand.
* This may be done with the wall behind the back for extra support.
*Stay for few breaths if it feels comfortable.
*The final step is to arrive into your full headstand.
* Lift both feet and extend the legs into the air. Here you may rest the back body on the wall and work the feet off the wall all together over time.
Below i have included my video tutorial showing you a step by step how to do a headstand.
Websites, books and resources
Asana Panayama Mudra Bandha, Swami Satyananda Saraswati