• Thanushree Anil

How to do a headstand perfectly?

Remember the head should only have less than 10% of the bodyweight

Salamba Shirshasana or Shirshasana but mostly known as the headstand provides stress relief, helps your mind to stay focused, circulation of the blood flow to the eyes, head and scalp, stimulates the lymphatic system, they help in feeling alive and say bye-bye to mental fatigue, depression and you can see the word inverted!

If you are a beginner its absolutely crucial and is always advised to have an instructor with you whenever you attempt to do a headstand. Doing a headstand has its perks when done strictly but when indolently done it could cause nerve damages. Alignment of the backbone, the legs, the entire body needs to be accounted for.

There are so many variations for a headstand, each to be flexed very delicately

Salamba Shirshasana 2

Headstand 2 (palms down, shoulder width)

Salamba Shirshasana 3

Headstand 3 (palms down, in front of face)

Baddha Hasta Shirshasana

Bound Hands Headstand

Baddha Konasana Shirshasana

Bound Angle Pose in Headstand


Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana

Headstand Backbend

Eka Pada Shirshasana

Single-Leg Headstand

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana

Free Hands Headstand

Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana

Single-Leg Revolved Headstand

Parshva Shirshasana

Side Headstand

Parshvaikapada Shirshasana

Single-Leg Headstand

Upavistha Konasana Shirshasana

Seated Angle Pose in Headstand

Urdhva Padmasana in Shirshasana

Upward Lotus in Headstand

Force, loading rate and neck angle are the crucial aspects that you should work with. While trying to or doing Shirshasana try to give less force to the head while exiting from the pose and while entering.

The loading rate is connected with the strain rate as in how much change occurs to the shape of the tissue when a load is applied and the speed in which the load is applied.

Take baby steps while doing a headstand, go slow, take your time to invert.

Step by step moves:-


To ease up into the headstand:

Lift your right foot to bring your right knee to your chest.

Take a few deep breaths. When you feel steady, inhale and engage your core muscles.

In a slow, controlled, movement exhale as you lift your left foot and bring it to your chest alongside your right.

Breathe deeply and keep your core engaged for as long as you remain in the headstand pose.



You can also try this method of getting into the pose:

Keep both legs straight. Inhale as you lift your right leg straight up toward the ceiling.

Exhale. Make sure your right leg is completely in line with your torso.

Once you feel steady, inhale and engage your core to lift your left leg up next to your right.


Balance there. Remember to breathe and keep your core strong. When you're first starting out, try to stay in the pose for about 10 seconds.

When you're ready to come down, reverse the steps you used to get into the pose. Your movements should be slow and controlled.

Finish by resting in Child's Pose.

You can add variations as you go for it.

Practice against a wall: This can be especially helpful as you are learning how to get in and out of a headstand and can support you as you practice your breathing techniques while you hold the pose.

Use a spotter: The first few times you try to get into the pose on your own, it's a good idea to have someone nearby to help you out. Not only can they help you avoid injury, but they can also provide encouragement and reminders to breath.

Helpful equipment: Ask your instructor or trainer about using a tool like a feet-up trainer or yoga blocks to help you practice.


In the above figure, it has been seen which alignment of the body is ideal and what body angle could cause injury.

In figure A, the weight of the body is shared in the 80/20 ratio by the head and the arms. The back muscles and the core are equally engaged. This is an ideal alignment for those who wish to stay long in the pose.

In figure B, the weight of the body is more on the arms, less on the neck(20/80). The core is more engaged than the back muscles. This alignment is suitable for those who wish to develop core awareness and wish less pressure on the neck. This alignment should also be practised if you are a beginner with this pose. Once you can hold the headstand for 1 minute comfortably, you can shift to alignment A.

In figure C, the weight of the body is on the neck and hands. The pelvis is hanging so the back muscles have to work very hard to keep the posture and the core is not sufficiently engaged. This alignment is not good as it brings compression in the neck and the back and can lead to injury.

In figure D, the weight of the body is falling behind the head so it is not possible to stay in the pose for almost anyone.

The Wall

Should you use the wall for a headstand, although it is recommended to do a headstand with the help of a wall, how helpful is it?

It is advisable to train without using the support of the wall as it when you actually start practising without the wall you might not use the right muscles and cause injuries to head and neck

Who should not do the headstand?

Children of under the age of seven have a soft skull and are recommended not to do a headstand. Pregnant women could fall out of the pose and hurt the baby with injuries to the neck and the head. People with acute migraines and glaucoma are said to refrain from doing Shirshasana. People with hypertension and heart problems too abstain from a headstand.

Remember if you are not comfortable with doing headstands its safe to not do the headstand.


A country filled with stories anything and everything would have myths. Some of them regarding Shirshasana are:


It is recommended for a pregnant woman not to do a headstand because it could hurt the baby but that it is only because she could fall out of the pose and then lead to hurt the baby. A perfect headstand would never hurt the baby.

Headstand could damage the brain, neck and eyes. These are true for only those who have neck injuries or people with glaucoma as it could lead to pressure developing between the eyes.


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