We’ve done other variations of headstand in our pose of the week, but this time we’re adding a some straddle legs. For this week’s guide, we’re going to go through the tripod variation of headstand, rather than the bound version.

Benefits: 

Strengthens the core, shoulders, and back. Improves blood flow and digestion. Releases stress and increases focus. Stimulates the lymphatic muscles and decreases fluid build up in the lower extremities. 

How to:

Before attempting an inversion, make sure that you are warmed up. If at any time the feeling of being upside down gets to be too much, sit back, take a breath or two, and come back if and when you’re ready. Please note that if you have any heart conditions, back/neck injuries, high blood pressure or are menstruating, then inversions like sirsasana are not recommended. 

  1. Get into a tabletop position, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Make sure that your palms are flat on the mat to give yourself a good foundation to the pose.
  2. Place the top of your head on the mat in front of your hands, forming a triangle. Make sure that your elbows can still bend at 90 degrees to maintain shoulder stability
  3. Lengthen through your legs, bringing your hips up in line with your shoulders. 
  4. Engage your core, and take one knee at a time up onto the backs of your arms. 
  5. Keep your shoulders engaged and press your triceps away from the floor so that you’re not feeling the entire weight of your legs pressing into your arms. Feel free to stay in this “teddy bear pose” for as long as you need to until you’re comfortable extending your legs. 
  6. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders as much as you can. Use the wall if you need to! When you’re ready, extend one leg at a time up towards the ceiling into a full headstand pose. 
  7. Keep your core engaged and extend your legs slowly out to the sides into a straddle pose. Don’t worry about how far those legs go, as even the most flexible people will not necessarily be able to achieve a fully horizontal line with their legs without practice. 
  8. Keep playing in the position and when you’re ready to come out of it, either come back into teddy bear and back down into table top or for more of a challenge, drop your legs back into a chaturanga and flow through a vinyasa!

Modify it:

If you’re more comfortable in a bound headstand, come into that variation and then arrange your legs into straddle. If headstands make you nervous, feel free to use a wall for support until you’re ready to invert on your own. 

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