How to do:
Begin in a child’s pose (Balasana), stretching your arms out in front of you. Raise your head and adjust your arms so that they are shoulder width apart. Clasp your hands together and interlace your fingers, with little fingers pressed together and lying flat to the ground. Open your hands to allow space for your head to rest on the floor. Place the crown of your head onto the mat, in between your hands, cradling your head with your palms.
Lift your hips high, bend your knees if necessary to create a higher lift in your hips and begin to walk your feet towards the front of your mat and your head. Keep your core engaged, your shoulders strong, long neck and using the frame of your forearms to maintain the base of the structure. Do not collapse into your shoulders or round into your back. You want to maintain a long spine. The pressure on your head should be minimal. Your shoulders and forearms are your support. Make sure your elbows stay directly under your shoulders.
Gently lift one foot from the ground as you feel the weight transfer from your feet into your shoulders. Tuck your leg into your body and lift the second foot from the ground, also tucking into the body.
Hold here until you find your balance and you are comfortable in your neck, head and shoulders. Slowly raise one leg to the ceiling and then the next. Engage the thighs and keep squeezing them together. Long spine, long, neck, strong shoulders and core. Find a point to focus your gaze. Breath!
To come out of the posture, slowly reverse the process. Bending your knees into the body and gently placing your feet to the floor. Rest in child’s pose for at least 6 breaths before lifting your head again.
Physically this pose will strengthen the shoulders arms, legs and spine as well as the core. You will deepen your breath and in turn strengthen your lungs. Headstands will also help improve digestion, relaxes the mind and help to relieve stress.
This pose can be challenging, require a lot of concentration and also a sense of adventure. But, Headstands, for me, are always quite a childlike, playful pose. Something about being upside down instantly makes me feel happy and like a big kid!
So, playing around with this pose can never be a bad thing ;).
You don’t even need to reach the full posture, just play with the first few steps – arms on the ground, head on the floor, bum in the air…and smile! It’s a like a baby beginning to explore their possibilities – explore your possibilities and have a little fun in the process. Most importantly, don’t focus too much on the end goal – it is in the journey where the fun is most had!
Finally and on a slightly deeper level, practicing inversions can give you a totally new perspective on how you view things. Suddenly the world around looks different! What we see is not always as it seems!
It is easy to stuck in one way of thinking, stuck in negative thought patterns, not be able to see an alternative or find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.
But life, situations, it is all about how you choose to see it. Inversions can help to change your perspective, think from a different angle, maybe see someone else’s point of view, release preconceptions and open the mind to new possibilities.