Sirsasana or Headstand

Sirsasana or Headstand

Sirsasana or Headstand

What's up, everyone? today, we're going to learn a safe way to get into Headstand. That's right. We have an inversion for you today on the foundations of yoga. There are so many benefits to this posture. But it can be a bit tricky if you don't know the steps to get into it safely and with integrity. So today we're going to learn how to send it up with integrity, with strength, and with balance. How about we jump on the tangle and learn Headstand. Alright. 

So to begin, we're going to come onto all fours. And the reason we are going to start here is that, again, we're focusing on the foundations of this pose today. So I want to take it nice and slow. Don't rush it. Spread the palms. Bring them right underneath the shoulders, so the wrists are right underneath the shoulders. And so we use this as a little marker from wherever the palms are, that's where we're going to drop the elbows. So the elbows are now stacked right underneath the shoulders. And another great way to check this is you can grab the opposite elbow with your hands, and press away from the earth, and just check it out from here.

 So this way, you know if you're too wide if you can't grab the elbows. This is a nice little marker. So we just went palms, two elbows. And then we checked our work, checked our homework by grabbing our elbows with the opposite hand. Okay. So take a second here to press away from the earth. So we're already not starting out here. If we start out here, it's much harder to get into this space of integrity in the shoulder girdle. So right away, I usually invite my friends,  my homies, to right away start pressing into the elbows and broadening through the upper back body. Okay. From here, we'll release the palms out. And right away, because of how tight the shoulders are, and just because the shoulders speak to us in this posture, right away the palms are going to want to come either wider or become narrow. 


So pay attention, my friends. Keep the wrist in line with the elbow and that shoulder stacked over. Okay. So we have a decent establishment here as we press in each of the ten knuckles. We're going to take a breath in. As we expand the upper back body, press away from the earth. So you might already start to feel this in the arms, and in the shoulders, and in the muscles that wrap around, and that's good! That means we're building strength. So often we kind of barrel into this posture without building the strength that we need in the arms and around the shoulder girdle. So take your time on the foundations of yoga. So you might just stay here, is what I'm trying to say. You can bring the gaze straight down, just below the thumbs, and work here on muscles. When you get tired, you can curl the toes under, and then send it back. Resting the forehead on the earth and letting the elbows go wide. So just kind of softening. And again, we're starting with the very basic here, but never underestimate the power of learning the foundation, right, building the pose beautifully from the ground up. So then we'll hug the elbows in again. Make sure they're stacked underneath the shoulders. Come onto the tops of the feet. And you might again just press up here. This time, maybe drawing your navel towards your spine, really integrating from the crown of the head to the tip of the tailbone. 

So this is option one. We are building strength here and then we're rocking it back. And then we're building strength here and then we're rocking it back. Okay? To take it to the next step, so just progressing here, we'll keep the elbows where they are, my friends, and interlace the fingertips. Open the palms here. So we're simply making a little pocket here, in the end, a little pad for the head. And again, I press away from the earth here and I create a little triangle. So I'm pressing into the forearms, pressing into the elbows. This is the opposite of that, kind of sulking into the shoulders. I press away, drawing the shoulders away from the ears, broadening through the upper back body. Great.

 We might just stay here. You might begin to just work on these muscles. And then take your rest. And then come back and work on the muscles. And that might be your back and forth foundational flow today. All right. So to take it a step further, I'm going to curl the toes under. I'm going to bring the top of my head... So this is the flat part of my head, my friends, right? To the earth and pocket the back of my head with my hands here.

 So it's kind of like a little yarmulke or a sweet little cap on the back of the head. Great. Shoulders will want to collapse. You'll want to keep the integrity in the shoulders here. Walk the knees in just slightly. So from here, I'm really not putting any weight into my head. In fact, my head is hovering as of right now. But then I can release my head back to the earth and just play with this foundation of the triangle - of the arms, and the crown of the head, and the shoulders - drawing ceaselessly from the ears. So I don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but it's so important to build the strength in the upper body, in the arms, and in the shoulder girdle before we begin to lift the sit bones up. Okay? So again, this might be our flow today.

 Chilling here and then sending it back. Now, progressing even further. So we always have options here. And we're just taking it super slow and being super mindful. Progressing. We'll press away from the earth. Thumbs are extended here. Furthermore, gradually, start to lift the sit bones up. Keep the knees slightly bent here. Then press away from the earth. Draw the shoulders away from your ears. Slight bend in the knees. Inhale in. Exhale. Straighten the legs, drop your heels down towards the mat. Inhale, bend your knees. And exhale, straighten the legs, draw the heels back. So we're building strength in the arms here, building integrity, strength, support... "Stability" is really the word I'm looking for, in the shoulder girdle. One more time.

 Bend the knees generously. And exhale. Heels down, legs straight. Great. You may remain here, you may bring down the knees for a rest, especially in case you're shiny new to headstands, take a rest, alright? Always take a rest. Come back with a little freshness. We'll meet back up here. Great. This time, we'll walk the toes together and begin to bring our awareness now to the navel. Draw your navel, lower belly, in. And again, shoulders draw away from the ears as we broaden the shoulder blades. And again, navel to spine. And again, I'm on the flat part of my head here. 

I'm pressing into my elbows. I'm pressing most of my weight into my forearms here, not into the head. Then I might just stay here, or I might continue to progress, I might walk my toes all the way up, begin to soften through the knees. Again, lower belly draws in. And then first things first, I'm just going to hug one knee. It doesn't make a difference which one, in towards the chest. Drawing the toes up towards the sky, crushing the lower gut in. Keep pressing into the elbows. What's more, you may go onto that enormous toe of the contrary foot here. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Then we release and check it out on the other side. Squeezing. Checking in with the abdominal wall. Finding stability. 

As we press into the elbows, draw the shoulders away from the ears. Inhale in, and exhale, we release. Slowly lower the knees down, come onto the tops of the feet, release the arms, and roll it up. Great. Loop the shoulders here. Inhale. Carve a line with your nose, forward, up, and back, so we're not crunching in the back of the neck by any means, but we're extending through the crown. And now, you can interlace the fingertips. Bring them behind the head, lower than we were previously, so sort of where we do, what I call Barton Springs to pose, so to the Atlas, the base of the neck... Not the neck. The head, here.

 Sorry. I'm all zenned-out after my Headstand. And I'm going to press the back of the head into the palms, press the palms into the back of the neck. As you do that, broaden through the elbows. But just have a little moment of a reset here. You might rock a little side to side. You can close your eyes. Breathe. And then release it back to the center. Cool. If you're done for the day, take a child's pose, and that's your practice. If you'd like to progress a step further, then we're going to dive back in. So going through our steps: all fours, dropping to the elbows. Take a second to check your homework. Great. Then we'll interlace, open the palms. Thumbs are going to extend here. Great. Walk the knees in slightly. 

Draw the lower belly in as you release the head to the earth. Great. Get situated here. Find your foundation. Then we'll take a deep, deep, deep breath in, and on an exhale, curl the toes under. Straighten the legs, lift the hips up. Great. Again, I'm not crashing weight into the crown of my head, but using strong arms, a strong foundation in the forearms here to find balance. Great. So now, I might squeeze one leg in. And then switch, and then switch. And then maybe if I'm ready, I'll slowly begin to lift both knees in towards the chest.

 Now again, pressing into the elbows, drawing the shoulders away from the ears. Beautiful. And then we'll slowly lower one toe back down, and then the other, and release. Great. Unravel. So slowly, you will trace our steps as we roll back up. And the same thing as before. All right. Send it into child's pose or we'll take it all the way up. If you're ready, just send the feet up towards the sky.

Beginner's Tip:

 Now, the thing about this is, if you're a beginner, or even if you're not a beginner and you just want to work on strength and alignment, it might be good to go to a wall here. In fact, if you're a beginner, I suggest you go to a wall here or have a buddy behind you. Often, by rushing this, we can create a ton of unnecessary soreness, strain. I hate even saying it. It's like, "Ouch!" in the neck, and may even lead to possible injuries. And you know, I don't play like that. So don't risk it. Let's find a wall at this moment. Or on the other hand in the event that you have a companion there to support you, that is a smart thought, as well. OK. So here we go.

 Going through our steps, taking our time, really building it from the ground up. For me, setting up poses like this is also, and I know this sounds cheesy, but like an act of self-love. You really care about yourself. You care about your neck. And you care about your practice, the quality of it, and you take your time going into things. Build. Let it unfold. All right. When you have your foundation set up, follow your breath. Inhale in, and exhale. Lift the hips up. Walk the toes in. And remember, you might just stay here today. To take it a step farther, we'll squeeze one knee in. Navel draws in. Press into your foundation. And we lift off, squeezing both knees in. 

Now, to straighten the legs up, I'm going to consider my pelvis here. So you can kind of see my tailbone, pelvis, going out towards the front edge of my mat right here. And this is a great place to just be to build strength, practicing pressing in the foundation, connecting the breath. But to progress, to take it a step further, I'm going to press up through the ball joint of my big toe, begin to straighten the legs, and really lengthen my tailbone up toward the sky as I draw my navel in. Squeeze the inner thighs together. Press away from the earth. Draw the shoulders away from the ears, and marry a little bit of length with the strength. 

So I'm not clenching my buttocks here, but I am engaged. Pressing up through the ball joint of those big toes, you might find some yogi toes here. And we breathe. Breathe. Keep soft in the skin of the face. Keep pressing into your foundation. Shoulders drawing up and away from the ears. And there's no tension or pressure in my neck here. In fact, there's hardly any weight on my head. Maybe about 20%. Mostly it's in my forearms. Breathing, actually vivaciously drawing all the weight up, up, up through the curves of the feet. So you may just slowly inhale or two here at the start of your training. Even if you're against a wall, be mindful of how long you're upside-down at first. Listen to your body. Take your time. Now with practice, we'll get to be here for quite a few breaths, really experiencing the benefits of this posture. And to come out of the posture, we'll bend one knee in towards the center, draw the navel towards your spine, followed by the opposite knee, in towards the center, pressing the arms, strong core. And then slowly, one leg at a time, toes release down. And down. Take a deep breath in. Walk the toes out. And on an exhale, release the knees to the earth. 

I'm not collapsing the shoulders yet. Keep drawing the shoulders away from the ears as I release onto the tops of the feet. And slowly unravel. Tuck your chin into your chest. Roll it up. And again, we have the option of coming into a little Barton Springs pose here.  sometimes, I like to release fingertips to the mat, fingertips pointing forward, and just take a second here. Don't drop the head here. Draw the shoulder blades together. Open up. Just kind of resetting here, creating space. And then we can release back to center and take it into a child's pose. 

So I think it's important to let the blood flow in the opposite direction again before we return to the child's pose. And then from here, you can relax. Maybe massage your third eye a little bit here. And if you begin to feel pressure in the neck here, then that to me says you need to spend a little more time here, just kind of resetting, squeezing the Atlas, the back of the neck, into the hands.  Find your bliss. Enjoy your practice. 

All right, my friends. So awesome work. That was a Headstand, an inversion practice for you. This is the foundation of yoga. So again, if you're new to the practice, remember, nice and slow. Return to this article again and again, and see how the practice unfolds. Even if you've been doing Headstand for a while, it's never too late to slow it down. And make sure that you're treating the body with 110% loving kindness. All right? Because that's what our yoga is all about, right? Finding what feels good, practicing self-love, and building strength in the body.

 I do guarantee you that if you practice Headstand with this prep, you're going to build these babies up. Like mine is so huge. Sad. Just kidding!. Cancel. Clear. Positive thoughts. No toxic thoughts. But you will build arm strength, and you will not experience any pain or fuzziness in the neck. This pose should bring you vitality, a sense of excitement, confidence, joy, not pain or fear, or any fuzziness after practice. 

So check it out. Keep exploring it. Leave questions, comments always below. We will do another version of Headstand, maybe a little more intermediate version of this pose on another day. But for now, take it nice and slow. And enjoy how the pose unfolds. I love you guys. Take it easy. Namaste.

SHIVA

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