SUPPORTED HEADSTAND POSE
• Bring the short edge of your mat to a wall, you can fold over one end for some extra support or place a neatly folded, non-slip blanket on top of the mat.
• Come on to your hands and knees facing the wall.
• Place your elbows forearm distance apart on the blanket or folded mat. Bring the hands together, fingers interlaced, little finger side on the floor, tuck your bottom little finger in.
• The arms will form a triangular base - make sure this base is fully on the mat or blanket. The hands should be close to the wall, not quite touching it.
• Come into a Dolphin pose, tuck your toes, press down through your forearms, lift your hips up to the ceiling and then take the hips back.
• Keep lifting through the hips, relax your head and neck, let the head hang. Walk your feet in and allow the top of the head to touch the floor so the back of the head is resting against the palms of your hands. Keep space between the cupped palms.
• Keep your neck long at all times and for now put no weight in the head, just use the strength of your arms, your base, to make sure you're strong enough to perform the Headstand safely.
• Keep shoulders away from your ears so that you are not crunching your neck.
• Upper arms are firming in to not let the elbows splay out, forearms are pressed into the floor. Keep tops of the wrist pointing up.
• Maintain the length in the front and the back of the body, front lower ribs in, keep lifting through the arms.
When you can consistently stay in Dolphin for 25 breaths each time you practice it without weight in the head, your upper body is strong enough to support you safely in Headstand.
• To continue, walk your feet in even further towards your body. Keep lifting through the hips. but allow some weight down through the crown of the head, lengthen through the neck. Your arms should be taking more of the weight than your head.
• You will feel the feet and legs almost naturally coming off the floor, bend one knee into the chest, then the other knee, still keeping most of the weight in your arms. On an in-breath you can bring your legs up in line with the rest of the body. Hips above shoulders and ankles above hips.
• Lift through the back of the pelvis, your abdomen firmed in, broaden the back of the legs, which releases the buttocks away from the sacrum.
• Keep length through the back and front of the body, keep the neck long, pressing the shoulders blades down and into the spine.
• Face soft and breathe calmly and evenly in your abdomen.
• With the right alignment Headstand should feel light, and your neck should feel uncompressed and long. If it doesn't, keep the weight in your arms and keep strengthening your foundation.
• To come out, bend knees and bring your feet to the buttocks, knees to the chest, and with control bring your feet back to the floor.
• Draws fresh blood into the upper body while stimulating drainage and circulation to the legs
• It quietens the mind and so prepares you for meditation
• Strengthens the arms, legs and back
• Strengthens the core
• Warms up the upper back, so Headstand is a great preparation for backbends
• Improves mood for many people