Headstand Pose - Salamba Sirsasana

Man performing headstand on exercise mat, side view
John Freeman / Getty Images
Type of pose: Inversion

Benefits: Calms the mind. Strengthens the arms, legs and spine. Improves balance.

Note: Wondering whether to invert while menstruating?


1. Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.

2. Bring your elbows to the floor forearm's distance apart.

3. Interlace your fingers, tucking the outermost pinky underneath.

4. Place the crown of your head on the floor cupped by your interlaced fingers.

5. Bring the hips up as if coming into Downward Facing Dog.

6. Walk the feet in towards your head until your hips are over your shoulders.

7. Kick up one leg and then the other.

8. Press down strongly into your forearms to keep all your weight from coming into your neck and head.

9. Reach up through the balls of your feet and rotate the thigh bones inward slightly. Hold for at least 10 breaths.

Beginners: Look at the step-by-step illustrated guide for photos of each step. Practice the pose at the wall. Try to move further from the wall each time. Try removing one foot and then the other from the wall to practice balancing.

Advanced: Try the following variations: Bring both legs up at the same time keeping them straight. Lower down the same way, holding the pose with the legs at 90 degrees. Bring the legs into a lotus position.

Release your interlaced fingers and bring the forearms flat on the floor. Lift your head off the floor coming into forearm stand.

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