supported headstand

Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand), variation

Benefit: Headstand strengthens your shoulders and arms; teaches you how to protect your neck and build courage


To work your way into supported headstand – Start on all fours with your toes touching a wall, hips stacked a little bit in front of your knees. Drop down onto your forearms. Interlace your fingers and press the edges of your hands, wrists, forearms, and elbows into the floor. Lower the crown of your head so that the back of your head grazes your hands. Firm your biceps and triceps to stabilise your shoulder joints. Press the floor away so that 30 percent or less of your weight is on your head, and move your shoulders away from your ears. Lift your hips just as you would in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose). Make certain the weight distribution remains as it was in the arms, shoulders, and head. Your shoulders will move past your elbows as you aim to stack your hips over your shoulders. Take one foot up the wall to hip height, and then the other. Align your feet and knees like you did in Tadasana. If you’re able to keep the weight out of your head and neck, then start to lift one leg up toward the ceiling. Repeat on the second side and then walk down and rest in Balasana (Child’s Pose).

Tip for practice – Perfect your Tadasana first!


Mountain Pose is one of the most advanced postures taught in yoga class. Tadasana is a seemingly mundane posture that we do over and over, but the trick with this pose, and yoga in general, is to pay very close attention and make choices in the moment, instead of thinking, “I’ve got this”, based on past experience. Don’t worry about being perfect, whether it’s here, in more complicated poses like Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana), or in life in general. Do what’s wise for you in the moment, no matter how different that is from what you did yesterday, or what the person next to you is doing today. This is what being a smart yoga practitioner is all about.