Headstand: Learn to Balance by Getting In & Out of the Pose

That giant step in your yoga practice. You know the one where you go from Headstand at the wall to balancing in the middle of the room? It’s daunting!

There’s the fear of toppling over backwards. (Pro tip: Tuck your chin and roll into a summersault if you do, otherwise you’ll land flat on your back!)

There’s the all over tension that comes when you’re on edge —holding on just a little too tight trying to control the pose.

There’s being dependent on the wall for balance and the struggle that endures when you try to pull away.

And I’ve seen way too many banana-shaped Headstands from having the head away from the wall but the heels still on it.

Learning how to get in and out of Shirshasana with more ease is a great way to teach yourself how to balance. It also builds the strength and flexibility necessary to be in Headstand without having to grit your teeth.

headstand_tuckThe Knee Tuck

  • To begin, get into Headstand with your back against a wall.
  • Lower both knees, at the same time, in a tuck towards your chest.
  • Control your descent —don’t fall!— to learn the strength needed for going up and to balance in Shirshasana.
  • As you lower your legs, press your forearms and head into the ground.
  • Once your knees are close to your chest and your butt has begun to move away from the wall, reach out with you feet and put your toes on the floor.
  • Rest in Child’s pose for a minute or two before sitting up.
  • The next time you do Headstand, practice reversing this to get into the pose with more control and grace.

Once you master getting into and out of Headstand this way, move your whole setup a few inches from the wall. Go up, through the knee tuck position, slowly, aiming to find the balance point while you transition. If you lean too far back, the wall will be there to catch you and you’ll have learned more about where you need to be to balance in the pose in the process.

Look for more on this topic (a whole lot more!) in Paisley’s forthcoming book, Headstand: From Basics to Balancing. Available soon for your tablet in the iTunes store.