Headstand Pose

sirsasana headstand pose

In Sirsasana, ‘Sirsa’ means ‘the head’. It is also called Headstand pose which is one of the most important yoga poses. The practice of this yoga pose helps in developing immunity. In this yoga pose, the body is completely inverted and held upright supported by the forearms, while the crown of the head rests lightly on the floor. Sirsasana is nicknamed “king” of all the asanas.

Headstand Pose is considered a base pose as headstand pose variations can be derived from this pose. Headstand Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start in Vajrasana (sitting on your heels).
Step 2
Lean forward and place your elbows on the floor.
Step 3
Grab opposite elbows with your hands. This is the distance you should maintain between your elbows throughout the pose.
Step 4
Bring the hands out in front of you and interlace your fingers, palms facing your body. Lift up your thumbs so they point up to the sky. This will be your support at the back of your head when you get up.
Step 5
Lift up your seat from your heels.
Step 6
Tuck in your toes, lift up your hips and straighten your legs. You are now in a variation of Dolphin pose with your hands clasped.
Step 7
Take one step closer towards your head.
Step 8
Lower your head down and let the front of the crown of your head touch the floor, in between your arms and so close to your hands that the back of your head is now supported by your palms and thumbs.
Step 9
Walk your feet as close as you can to your body so your hips stack over your head.
Step 10
Lift one leg up as high as you can (you will automatically feel which one feels more natural to you), activate your core and then also raise the second leg. Ideally you should not have to kick with your legs but rather just lift the legs up using your core strength. If you are not there yet make a slight jump with your second leg taking care so you don’t fall over.
Step 11
Press your lower arms down to the ground to release pressure in your neck. Most weight should be in your arms – not your head!
Step 12
Keep your legs together, internally rotated, and keep your abs activated for balance. Stay here for 5 breaths.
Step 13
To get out of this pose lower one leg down at a time and finish with coming down in Child’s pose for 5 breaths.

Benefits and Contraindications

Benefits

Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression

Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands

Strengthens the arms, legs, and spine

Strengthens the lungs

Tones the abdominal organs

Improves digestion

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Therapeutic for asthma, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis

Contraindications

Back injury

Headache

Heart condition

High blood pressure

Menstruation

Neck injury

Low blood pressure

Pregnancy

Photo poses in different angles

Modification

If you fear falling over you can start practicing this pose against a wall or with a spotter.

If your elbows fall out to the sides then tighten a strap around your upper arms so they remain shoulder distance apart.

If you feel comfortable in this pose and your core is strong enough lift both legs up together, keeping a pike in your hips while moving upwards.

Tips

Beginners tend to take too much weight onto the neck and head when coming into and exiting this pose, a potentially harmful situation. Prepare to do this pose as described above against a wall. To come up, set your arms in place and lift your head slightly off the floor. Move into the wall-supported position with the head off the floor, then lower it lightly onto the floor. Support 90 to 95 percent of your weight on your shoulders and arms, even if it means staying for only a few seconds. Gradually, over time, take more and more weight onto your head, but proceed slowly. Similarly, when you exit this pose, first lift your head off the floor, then bring your feet down. Eventually you will be able to keep your head on the floor when going up and coming down.

Variations
  • Headstand Pose II
  • Half Headstand Pose On Forearms
  • Tripod Headstand Prep One Knee On Elbow One Leg Half Raised
  • One Legged Headstand Pose II
  • Bound Hands Headstand Pose B
Top Preparatory Poses
  • Child Pose
  • Half Headstand Pose On Forearms
  • Squeezing Pose
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Child Pose
  • Shoulderstand Pose
  • Upward Standing Staff Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.