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Head Stand Yoga Pose – How To Do a Headstand for Beginners


What’s up, everyone? Welcome to Yoga with
Adriene. I’m Adriene. And today, we’re going to learn a safe way to get into Headstand.
That’s right. We have an inversion for you today on the foundations of yoga. There’s
so many benefits to this posture. But it can be a bit tricky if you don’t know the steps
to get into it safely and with integrity. So today we’re going to learn how to send
it up with integrity, with strength, and with balance. Let’s hop on the mat and learn Headstand. Okay. So to begin, we’re going to come onto
all fours. And the reason we are going to start here is because, again, we’re focusing
on the foundations of this pose today. So I want to take it nice and slow. Don’t rush
it. Spread the palms. Bring them right underneath the shoulders, so the wrists are right underneath
the shoulders. And so we use this as a little marker from wherever the palms are, that’s
where we’re going to drop the elbows. So the elbows are now stacked right underneath the
shoulders. And another great way to check this is you can grab the opposite elbow with
your hands, and press away from the earth, and just check it out from here. So this way,
you know if you’re too wide if you can’t grab the elbows. This is a nice little marker. So we just went palms, two elbows. And then
we checked our work, checked our homework by grabbing our elbows with the opposite hand.
Okay. So take a second here to press away from the earth. So we’re already not starting
out here. If we start out here, it’s much harder to get into this space of integrity
in the shoulder girdle. So right away, I usually invite my friends, my students, my homies,
to right away start pressing into the elbows and broadening through the upper back body. Okay. From here, we’ll release the palms out.
And right away, because of how tight the shoulders are, and just because the shoulders speak
to us in this posture, right away the palms are going to want to come either wider or
become narrow. So pay attention, my friends. Keep the wrist in line with the elbow and
that shoulder stacked over. Okay. So we have a nice foundation here as
we press in all ten knuckles. We’re going to take a breath in. As we broaden the upper
back body, press away from the earth. So you might already start to feel this in the arms,
and in the shoulders, and in the muscles that wrap around, and that’s good! That means we’re
building strength. So often we kind of barrel into this posture without building the strength
that we need in the arms and around the shoulder girdle. So take your time on the foundations
of yoga. So you might just stay here, is what I’m trying to say. You can bring the gaze straight down, just
below the thumbs, and work here on muscles. When you get tired, you can curl the toes
under, and then send it back. Resting the forehead on the earth and letting the elbows
go wide. So just kind of softening. And again, we’re starting with the very basic here, but
never underestimate the power of learning the foundation, right, building the pose beautifully
from the ground up. So then we’ll hug the elbows in again. Make
sure they’re stacked underneath the shoulders. Come onto the tops of the feet. And you might
again just press up here. This time, maybe drawing your navel towards your spine, really
integrating from the crown of the head to the tip of the tailbone. So this is option
one. We are building strength here and then we’re rocking it back. And the we’re building
strength here and then we’re rocking it back. Okay? To take it to the next step, so just progressing
here, we’ll keep the elbows where they are, my friends, and interlace the fingertips.
Open the palms here. So we’re just creating a little pocket here, eventually a little
pillow for the head. And again, I press away from the earth here and I create a little
triangle. So I’m pressing into the forearms, pressing into the elbows. This is the opposite
of that, kind of sulking into the shoulders. I press away, drawing the shoulders away from
the ears, broadening through the upper back body. Great. We might just stay here. You
might begin to just work on these muscles. And then take your rest. And then come back
and work on the muscles. And that might be your back and forth foundational flow today. All right. So to take it a step further, I’m
going to curl the toes under. I’m going to bring the top of my head… So this is the
flat part of my head, my friends, right? To the earth and pocket the back of my head with
my hands here. So it’s kind of like a little yarmulke or a sweet little cap on the back
of the head. Great. Shoulders will want to collapse. You’ll want to keep the integrity
in the shoulders here. Walk the knees in just slightly. So from here, I’m really not putting any weight
into my head. In fact, my head is hovering as of right now. But then I can release my
head back to the earth and just play with this foundation of the triangle – of the arms,
and the crown of the head, and the shoulders – drawing away from the ears. So I don’t mean
to sound like a broken record here, but it’s so important to build the strength in the
upper body, in the arms, and in the shoulder girdle before we begin to lift the sit bones
up. Okay? So again, this might be our flow today. Chilling here and then sending it back. Now, progressing even further. So we always
have options here. And we’re just taking it super slow and being super mindful. Progressing.
We’ll press away from the earth. Thumbs are extended here. And slowly, begin to lift the
sit bones up. Keep the knees slightly bent here. Then press away from the earth. Draw
the shoulders away from your ears. Slight bend in the knees. Inhale in. Exhale. Straighten
the legs, drop your heels down towards the mat. Inhale, bend your knees. And exhale, straighten
the legs, draw the heels back. So we’re building strength in the arms here, building integrity,
strength, support… “Stability” is really the word I’m looking for, in the shoulder
girdle. One more time. Bend the knees generously. And exhale. Heels down, legs straight. Great.
You might stay here, you might lower the knees for a rest, particularly if you’re brand new
to head stands, take a rest, okay? Always take a rest. Come back with a little freshness. We’ll meet back up here. Great. This time,
we’ll walk the toes together and begin to bring our awareness now to the navel. Draw
your navel, lower belly, in. And again, shoulders draw away from the ears as we broaden the
shoulder blades. And again, navel to spine. And again, I’m on the flat part of my head
here. I’m pressing into my elbows. I’m pressing most of my weight into my forearms here, not
into the head. Then I might just stay here, or I might continue to progress, I might walk
my toes all the way up, begin to soften through the knees. Again, lower belly draws in. And then first things first, I’m just going
to hug one knee. It doesn’t matter which one, in towards the chest. Drawing the toes up
towards the sky, squeeze the lower belly in. Keep pressing into the elbows. And you might
come onto that big toe of the opposite foot here. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Then we release
and check it out on the other side. Squeezing. Checking in with the abdominal wall. Finding
stability. As we press into the elbows, draw the shoulders away from the ears. Inhale in,
and exhale, we release. Slowly lower the knees down, come onto the tops of the feet, release
the arms, and roll it up. Great. Loop the shoulders here. Inhale. Carve a line
with your nose, forward, up, and back, so we’re not crunching in the back of the neck
by any means, but we’re extending through the crown. And now, you can interlace the
fingertips. Bring them behind the head, lower than we were before, so kind of where we do,
what I call Barton Springs pose, so to the Atlas, the base of the neck… Not the neck.
The head, here. Sorry. I’m all zenned-out after my Headstand. And I’m going to press the back of the head
into the palms, press the palms into the back of the neck. As you do that, broaden through
the elbows. But just have a little moment of reset here. You might rock a little side
to side. You can close your eyes. Breathe. And then release it back to center. Cool.
If you’re done for the day, take a child’s pose, and that’s your practice. If you’d like
to progress a step further, then we’re going to dive back in. So going through our steps: all fours, dropping
to the elbows. Take a second to check your homework. Great. Then we’ll interlace, open
the palms. Thumbs are going to extend here. Great. Walk the knees in slightly. Draw the
lower belly in as you release the head to the earth. Great. Get situated here. Find
your foundation. Then we’ll take a deep, deep, deep breath in, and on an exhale, curl the
toes under. Straighten the legs, lift the hips up. Great. Again, I’m not crashing weight
into the crown of my head, but using strong arms, strong foundation in the forearms here
to find balance. Great. So now, I might squeeze one leg in. And then switch, and then switch.
And then maybe if I’m ready, I’ll slowly begin to lift both knees in towards the chest. Now again, pressing into the elbows, drawing
the shoulders away from the ears. Beautiful. And then we’ll slowly lower one toe back down,
and then the other, and release. Great. Unravel. So slowly, you will trace our steps as we
roll back up. And same thing as before. All right. Send it into child’s pose or we’ll
take it all the way up. If you’re ready, just send the feet up towards the sky. Now, the thing about this is, if you’re a
beginner, or even if you’re not a beginner and you just want to work on strength and
alignment, it might be good to go to a wall here. In fact, if you’re a beginner, I suggest
you go to a wall here or have a buddy behind you. Often, by rushing this, we can create
a ton of unnecessary soreness, strain. I hate even saying it. It’s like, “Ouch!” in the
neck, and may even lead to possible injuries. And you know, I don’t play like that. So don’t
risk it. Let’s find a wall at this moment. Or if you have a friend there to help you,
that’s a good idea, too. Okay. So here we go. Going through our steps,
taking our time, really building it from the ground up. For me, setting up poses like this
is also, and I know this sounds cheesy, but like an act of self-love. You really care
about yourself. You care about your neck. And you care about your practice, the quality
of it, and you take your time going into things. Build. Let it unfold. All right. When you have your foundation set
up, follow your breath. Inhale in, and exhale. Lift the hips up. Walk the toes in. And remember,
you might just stay here today. To take it a step farther, we’ll squeeze one knee in.
Navel draws in. Press into your foundation. And we lift off, squeezing both knees in. Now, to straighten the legs up, I’m going
to consider my pelvis here. So you can kind of see my tailbone, pelvis, going out towards
the front edge of my mat right here. And this is a great place to just be to build strength,
practicing pressing in the foundation, connecting the breath. But to progress, to take it a
step further, I’m going to press up through the ball joint of my big toe, begin to straighten
the legs, and really lengthen my tailbone up toward the sky as I draw my navel in. Squeeze
the inner thighs together. Press away from the earth. Draw the shoulders away from the
ears, and marry a little bit of length with the strength. So I’m not clenching my buttocks here, but
I am engaged. Pressing up through the ball joint of those big toes, you might find some
yogi toes here. And we breathe. Breathe. Keep soft in the skin of the face. Keep pressing
into your foundation. Shoulders drawing up and away from the ears. And there’s no tension
or pressure in my neck here. In fact, there’s hardly any weight on my head. Maybe about
20%. Mostly it’s in my forearms. Breathing, really energetically drawing all the weight
up, up, up through the arches of the feet. So you might only take a breath or two here
in the beginning of your practice. Even if you’re against a wall, be mindful of how long
you’re upside-down at first. Listen to your body. Take your time. Now with practice, we’ll get to be here for
quite a few breaths, really experiencing the benefits of this posture. And to come out
of the posture, we’ll bend one knee in towards the center, draw the navel towards your spine,
followed by the opposite knee, in towards center, pressing the arms, strong core. And
then slowly, one leg at a time, toes release down. And down. Take a deep breath in. Walk
the toes out. And on an exhale, release the knees to the earth. I’m not collapsing the shoulders yet. Keep
drawing the shoulders away from the ears as I release onto the tops of the feet. And slowly
unravel. Tuck your chin into your chest. Roll it up. And again, we have the option of coming
into a little Barton Springs pose here. Oh yeah, baby. Or sometimes, I like to release
fingertips to the mat, fingertips pointing forward, and just take a second here. Don’t
drop the head here. Draw the shoulder blades together. Open up. Just kind of resetting
here, creating space. And then we can release back to center and
take it into child’s pose. So I think it’s important to let the blood flow in the opposite
direction again before we return to child’s pose. And then from here, you can relax. Maybe
massage your third eye a little bit here. And if you begin to feel pressure in the neck
here, then that to me says you need to spend a little more time here, just kind of resetting,
pressing the Atlas, the back of the neck, into the hands. Oh yeah. Or here. Find your
bliss. Enjoy your practice. All right, my friends. So awesome work. That
was a Headstand, an inversion practice for you. This is the foundations of yoga. So again,
if you’re new to the practice, remember, nice and slow. Return to this video again and again,
and see how the practice unfolds. Even if you’ve been doing Headstand for a while, it’s
never too late to slow it down. And make sure that you’re treating the body with 110% loving
kindness. All right? Because that’s what our yoga is all about, right? Finding what feels
good, practicing self-love, and building strength in the body. I do guarantee you that if you practice Headstand
with this prep, you’re going to build these babies up. Like mine are so huge. Sad. Just
kidding!. Cancel. Clear. Positive thoughts. No toxic thoughts. But you will build arm
strength, and you will not experience any pain or a fuzziness in the neck. This pose
should bring you vitality, a sense of excitement, confidence, joy, not pain or fear, or any
fuzziness after practice. So check it out. Keep exploring it. Leave
questions, comments always below. We will do another version of Headstand, maybe a little
more intermediate version of this pose on another day. But for now, take it nice and
slow. And enjoy how the pose unfolds. I love you guys. Take it easy. Namaste.

Jerry Heath

18 Comments

  1. First head stand ever!! Against the wall and it feels amazing. In time will be without the wall. Thank You! Before it felt impossible to achieve this.

  2. I had trouble doing the headstand. This video helpt me take it easy and not rushing it!

  3. Didn't just do this and fall back onto my desk

    Nope didn't happen .. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  4. I've looked at a LOT of other instructors on YouTube for various types of yoga and poses, and I always come back to you and Sarah Beth. You are amazing!! Thank you for your work. You have a beautiful, energetic, calming voices, and I love practicing with you!

  5. Nearly kicked a hole through my laptop, I need to take this one slowly. As always though Adriene, you're the most considerate of guides.

  6. Nicely explained… I tried to raise my legs up and I fell on my back 360 degrees ๐Ÿ˜‚ baammm… Nice sound… ๐Ÿ˜‚ Nothing happened… Lol

  7. After several months of practacing yoga I finally feel confident doing chaturanga dandasana. Now youtube recommends headstand, so I guess it's time for the next yoga goal ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck to me and every other beginner!

  8. This is the best ever I was trying and trying to do this pose and not fall over and with the help of this video I was able to finally do it! Thanks!

  9. I just tried this! Once my feet were off the ground they dropped back down twice but then I did it! I tried again and straightened my legs that time and I found it easier to balance with legs straight. At a guess id say 30% weight on my head 70% on my arms. I was please with myself though, gonna practice this one til I get it good ๐Ÿ™‚ ty adriene, u helped me last year get thru my sister's death, im currently on a 30 day challenge of urs xxx

  10. Does anyone else have difficulty getting their fore-arms to touch all the way to the ground? Particularly the part of the arm right below the wrist? This is my 3rd or 4th attempt at this headstand, and I have been building foundations and practicing yoga for almost 6 months now. I think the problem has something to do with the way I hold my hands in the basket, so I just can't get the positioning of the arms right.

  11. Why i have a sensation of having ants crawling on my shoulder after i practising head stand? But i hav no pain. Could i injury my neck or spine ? Tq

  12. so dangerous to your neck. in addition to feel your body weight and feeling the blood rushing to centre of your head. Later top of your head feels pain

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