How to Do Supported Headstand Pose in Yoga (Guide to Salamba Sirsasana)

Dubbed the “king of all poses,” the Supported Headstand pose is a powerful asana and a symbol of physical yoga practice.

This is an advanced pose, but once you learn it, you can use it as an aid whenever you want to surprise your body and calm your mind. The pose boosts energy, stimulates circulation, and teaches you to find balance, which can prove helpful for more difficult arm balances, like the handstand.

If done incorrectly, however, the Headstand can be dangerous, so always learn it with the help of a teacher. The pose requires quite an advanced level of strength, flexibility, and balance. Don’t rush yourself. With time and practice, it’ll come naturally. Only when your body is truly ready for the pose will you enjoy its full benefit.

“Whenever I tell someone I practice yoga for many years now, the first thing they ask me is if I can stand on my head. That’s not surprising. The pose is a symbol of yoga practice, and many beginner students start to practice it too early because they think it’s sort of a rite of passage for yogis – but it is not,” says Yoga Answered contributor Sara Popovic. “Although I’m usually all for solo yoga practice at home, this is not a pose you should rush or learn on your own. It has countless benefits but can also be dangerous. The Shoulder stand pose has almost all the same benefits as the Headstand, so I’d recommend opting for that alternative before you’re able to learn Headstand with guidance and support from a professional teacher.”

Supported Headstand Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Salamba Sirsasana
Pose Type: Forward Bend Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Advanced pose
Targets: Full body
Benefits: This pose stimulates circulation and may help relieve headaches, fatigue, and vertigo. It strengthens the upper body muscles, particularly the abdomen, spine, shoulders, and neck. It can also help reduce swelling in feet and may slow down hair loss and hair greying. Furthermore, the pose may also help overcome problems related to abdominal organs and the reproductive system and may boost the function of the endocrine glands. On a deeper level, it boosts self-confidence and energy, promotes relaxation, and improves your alertness.
Preparatory Poses: Downward-Facing Dog pose, Dolphin pose, Forearm Plank pose, Supported Shoulderstand pose

How to Do Supported Headstand Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Begin in the Tabletop position. Place your forearms on the floor in front of you and grab the elbows of opposite arms to ensure they’re shoulder-width distance apart. Then clasp your hands together, interlacing your fingers.
  2. Place the crown of your head in between your arms. The back of your head should be cupped in your hands. Then firmly press down with your forearms and activate your entire upper body.
  3. Tuck your toes and lift your knees, as you would in the Dolphin pose. Make sure you’re not bearing almost any weight on the head – your shoulders and core should hold you in the position.
  4. Walk your feet inward, until your hips are in a same line with your shoulders. Bend one knee towards your stomach, then the other. If that’s enough, you can keep practicing with only one leg in the air.
  5. To go further, bend both of your knees and lift them off the floor using the strength of your core, instead of momentum. Try to find your balance here, and keep your hips directly over your shoulders.
  6. Press your thighs together and straighten the legs for the full expression of the pose. Wherever you are in the pose -hold it as long as you feel comfortable. Make sure you breathe.
  7. To release, engage your core to slowly bring your feet to the ground. Rest in Child’s pose for as long as you need before you continue your practice.

Beginner’s Tip

Learn the Headstand with guidance from a yoga teacher. Once you have a hang of it, you can continue to practice alone at home. Use a wall for support when you’re just starting out. Also, don’t hold the pose for too long – only as long as you feel strong and comfortable. If you’re unable to use abdominal strength to hold you in the pose, invest some more time to strengthen your core muscles before attempting the Supported Headstand pose. Great poses to increase your practice for this purpose are the Plank pose, Dolphin pose, and Boat pose

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