Headstand on your list of fitness goals, but you just can’t get it right? Use this step-by-step guide to master the move.
The headstand not only looks cool in pictures, it also comes with a bunch of benefits – being upside down increases circulation to the brain and heart, says yoga instructor Kirsti Goodman. What’s more, getting up there and maintaining your balance once you’re in the posture recruits muscles in your upper and lower body, plus your core, making it a full-body workout, says yoga instructor Anastasia Dellis. Use this guide to master the the headstand safely.
1/ Use a wall.
If you’re just starting out, use a wall for support. Position your yoga mat or a folded towel a few centimetres away from the wall to give your body enough space once you’re up in the pose. If you’re too close to the wall, you may struggle to get up. If you’re too far away, you could put strain on your spine.
2/ Create a solid base.
Lightly place your head on the ground between your forehead and the crown of your head. You’ll end up on your crown, reducing your risk of toppling over. Interlace your hands behind your head and keep your elbows in – it seems counter-intuitive, but the narrower your arms the better balance you’ll have.
3/ Go slowly.
Control is key. Throwing your legs up too quickly robs you of those abs-toning benefits, plus moving without control ups your risk of injury. Before you start, tighten your tummy muscles and use them to help lift your legs into a bent-leg tuck position. You can hold this position the first few times to get used to it, then work up to straightening from there. Can’t get up? Add planks and hollow-body holds to your workout regimen to strengthen your core.
4/ Tighten and lengthen.
Push down through your forearms and shoulders to take pressure off your neck – you should never feel pain or pressure on your neck or head while you’re in headstand. Tighten your tummy muscles, clench your butt, point your toes and focus on lengthening your body up through your spine to the tips of your toes. Maintain this alignment until you come down.
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Stay safe: Don’t invert if you’re pregnant or have your period. Avoid the move if you have back, neck or shoulder injuries.