We’ve already done one variation of headstand in our pose of the week, but this time we’re adding a little extra flourish with butterfly legs bada konasana. For this week’s guide, we’re going to go through the bound or supported variation of headstand salamba sirsasana, rather than the tripod version that we did previously. 

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 menstuating, then inversions like sirsasana are not recommended. 

  1. Start in a kneeling position. Cat/cow pose is a great way to open up the body in preparation for this pose. 
  2. Bind your hands together, interlacing the fingers. Make sure that your elbows are shoulder width apart (you can check by releasing your hands and making sure you can touch each elbow with the opposite hand) and press your forearms into the mat. 
  3. Set the crown of your head (the top of your head) on the floor so that the back of your head is cradled in your palms. If this pose is new to you, your palms may be more tightly bound leaving little room for your head, and that’s ok!
  4. As you inhale, lift your knees of the mat and walk your feet in closer towards your head so that you are in an inverted V position with your body. 
  5. You can start by lifting your feet off the floor and bending your knees, bringing your heels towards your bum. Try to keep your bum in line with the rest of your body, keeping a long line in your spine and keeping your shoulders up and away from the floor. You can stay here for as long as you wish. 
  6. When you’re ready, extend your legs up into a full headstand position. To take the butterfly variation of the pose, bend your knees out to the side and bring the soles of your feet together. 
  7. To get a deeper stretch in your hips, try to draw the knees further apart as you press your feet together. 

Modify it:

If you’re more comfortable in a tripod headstand, come into that variation and then arrange your legs into butterfly. If headstands make you nervous, feel free to use a wall for support until you’re ready to invert on your own. A great prep pose for bound/supported headstand is dolphin pose, so having a strong foundation in dolphin helps with feeling confidence in the full inversion.

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