In the midst of a modern world that often seems to value convenience over everything else, many of us are eager to find new ways to unplug and tune back into our own bodies and spirits. One example of this is the headstand, an inverted pose that helps build strength, concentration, and balance all at once. Users report feeling centered and balanced after even just one session of headstands. In fact, research published in the International Journal of Yoga found that practicing inverted poses like headstands can even have measurable physiological benefits for your body. In this blog post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to do a headstand safely and effectively. Let’s get started!
What is a Headstand?
A headstand is an inverted pose that allows you to balance your head with your hands supporting your body. The pose is challenging in that it requires both strength and flexibility, two attributes that are often at odds with each other. The headstand is often associated with yoga but is actually a pose that can be found in many ancient cultures.
In addition to its connection to yoga, the headstand is also central to acrobatic acts like the Chinese circus. It’s important to remember that the headstand is a pose that requires training and patience. If you try to jump into full-on headstands with no instruction or warm-up, you run the risk of injuring yourself.
What Are the Health Benefits of Headstands?
- Increased blood flow to the brain: The upside-down position of the headstand allows more blood flow to the brain. Increased blood flow can result in an increase in energy, alertness, and concentration.
- Improved digestion: Yoga postures like the headstand can result in a more efficient digestive system. In fact, inverted postures are sometimes used in treatment protocols for patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other digestive disorders.
- Increased blood flow to the heart: The headstand is said to be one of the best things you can do for your heart. It is thought that the increased blood flow to the heart results in lower blood pressure, and therefore contributes to heart health.
- Improved mood: Research shows that inverted poses like the headstand have measurable psychological benefits. The headstand in particular is associated with an increase in serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that are closely linked to mood.
How to Do a Headstand: Step-By-Step Instructions
- Find your balance: The first step to successfully doing a headstand is finding your balance. Try using a wall to help, as you can use the wall for extra support as you learn how to balance your body.
- Use your core: Once you’ve found your balance, use your core muscles to raise one leg and then the other, finally bringing them together above your head.
- Keep your neck aligned: When you first start doing headstands, it’s important to keep your neck aligned and your chin tucked. As you get more comfortable with the pose, you can begin to raise your head and look forward.
- Walk your feet towards your head: As you feel more comfortable with the pose, you can walk your feet towards your head, bringing your body into a full headstand.
- Focus on your breathing: As you’re doing the headstand, try to focus on your breathing. You can count your breaths, or you can try to think thoughts that make you feel calm and relaxed.
Tips for a Safe Headstand
- Find the right teacher: This is rule number one for safe headstands. Work with a teacher who is familiar with the pose and can help you progress at your own pace.
- Do it slowly: As with any new physical activity, it’s important to do the headstand slowly and deliberately. This will help you learn to do the pose safely.
- Find the right place: Choose a place that’s safe for you to do the headstand. If you’re indoors, you may want to choose a hardwood floor, as a softer surface like a carpet could give way beneath you.
- Wear the right clothes: You can wear whatever you want while you’re doing yoga, but the headstand requires you to wear clothes that will not be caught in the wheels of your chair. Be sure to wear loose, flowing clothing while doing the headstand Stay hydrated: You may be upside-down while you’re doing the headstand, but that doesn’t mean you can skip out on drinking water! Be sure to stay hydrated.
Key Muscles Strengthened by Headstands
The headstand is a challenging pose that works your entire body. It particularly targets the core, shoulders, and back, but it also works for your legs, hips, and hands. In order to do the pose safely and effectively, you’ll want to build up your core strength, upper body strength, and overall balance and flexibility.
- Core: The core does the brunt of the work in the headstand. Doing the pose regularly will help you build core strength and improve your posture.
- Upper body: In order to do the headstand safely, you’ll want to build upper body strength. This is particularly important if you’re still growing, as you need to be able to support your body with your hands.
- Overall balance and flexibility: Headstands are challenging because they require a decent amount of flexibility and overall balance. Doing the pose regularly will help you build strength and, over time, improve your balance.
Which Is the Right Side?
While the headstand is a pose that is often done by both left- and right-handed people, there is a slight difference between the two when it comes to the pose. To do the headstand on the right side, start by placing your hands on the ground, with your palms facing towards your body.X
Then lift your left foot and place it firmly on your right palm. Finally, bring your right leg up and place it on top of your left hand. To do the headstand on the left side, simply do everything backward. Start by placing your hands on the ground, with your palms facing away from your body. Then lift your right foot and place it firmly on your left palm. Finally, bring your left leg up and place it on top of your right hand.
The headstand is not only fun and challenging, but it also has many health benefits. By practicing the headstand, you will be improving your mood, digestion, circulation, and blood flow. The best way to start doing the headstand is by finding a teacher who can help you progress at your own pace. Once you feel comfortable with the pose, you can start adding it to your yoga practice. And don’t forget to share pictures of your progress on Instagram! Hopefully, this post has given you a good overview of what a headstand is, how to do it, and some of the benefits of doing it. If you’re feeling inspired to try out this pose, remember to take it slow and steady!