How To Work Up To Your First Yoga Headstand

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Handstands are hard, but I’m making progress. Since our focus this month is just getting upside-down in whatever manner you like, I thought I should try some yoga inversions, too. I did my first headstand today!

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I cannot do a handstand. Or a headstand. I get kind of terrified even just trying to put my legs up above me onto a wall. Are you with me? Let’s get out of our comfort zones. If you can already do handstands, well, I’ll have some extra challenges for you too.

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I used the technique from this Yoga with Adriene video on handstands for beginners. You start with your elbows on the floor, and make your hands into a little cradle. The top of your head goes on the floor, and your hands cap the back of your head like a yarmulke.

From there, Adriene has you do some poses reminiscent of downward dog, where your butt is in the air and you’re shifting your weight onto and off of your head. When you’re ready, you pick one foot up, and then the other.

I wasn’t able to do her cute little curled-up pose, with knees to chest, so I gave my toe a push and ended up — miraculously — in an ugly, wonky sort of headstand. I took her advice to have my back near (not touching) a wall, so any time my balance wasn’t quite right, I could touch my foot to the wall and get steady again. Here’s what it looked like:

With a little more practise, I was able to get my legs straight, too. This move only hurts your head and neck a little (go slow and follow all of Adriene’s tips, OK?), and I found it much less intimidating than handstands. It’s also easier to find a place to practise.

If you aren’t ready to go all the way up onto your head, you can work through as much of the video as you like, and practise getting comfortable with some of your weight on your head. If this is easy for you, try moving on to forearm balances and, yes, handstands.


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