Sequencing a Headstand Class

Updated: 3 days ago

What to consider so you can set your students up for success


Headstand is one of those yoga poses where you hear the teacher call it in class and most people choose to do something else all together instead of entertaining the idea of going upside down.


It can be a scary pose. Especially if the teacher says the words, "...and if it's in your practice, take Headstand" but doesn't give you any instructions on how to get into it. That's the absolute worst.


This leaves you asking the question,


"How is Headstand supposed to become a part of my practice if the teacher isn't cuing me into the pose?"


The answer is, you'll never learn the steps to get into a Headstand unless you're taught how and you practice it consistently.


You don't need to be able to do a Headstand in order to teach it, although it can help for demonstration purposes. You really just need to consider what areas of the body need to be warm and open before the pose can happen safely for your students.


Considerations when planning your Headstand class:


💖 Warm Up the Shoulders and Upper Back

💖 Shoulder/Upper Body Mobility Work

💖 Warm Up and Turn On the Core


Warm Up the Shoulders and Upper Back

Headstand takes shoulder stability. Before you can safely come into a Headstand, you need to activate the entire upper body so those muscles will be warm and ready to support and stabilize you.


Pose Considerations:

  • Scapula Push Ups (on or off the knees)

  • Forearm Plank (Side Forearm Plank)

  • Dolphin Pose

  • Plank (Side Plank)

  • Knee to Elbow

  • Sun Salutations

Shoulder/Upper Body Mobility Work

You also want to ensure you've included enough shoulder mobility into your class warm up so that the muscles are open and safe.


Pose Considerations:

  • Cat/Cow

  • Thread the Needle

  • Puppy Pose

  • Eagle Arms

  • Cowface Arms

  • Binding

Warm Up and Turn On the Core

Headstand requires core awareness and strength. Many students try to learn this pose using the wall by jumping into it, but this doesn't teach core stability and awareness.


Pose Considerations:

  • Plank Variations (Plank, Forearm Plank, Side Plank, Forearm Side Plank)

  • Knee to Elbow

  • Hollow Body Position

  • Boat Pose

  • Scissor Legs

  • Leg Lifts

  • Single/Double Leg Stretch

  • Ab Twists

When you're planning to include a Headstand into your class, it's a must to consider these 3 details:


💖 Warm Up the Shoulders and Upper Back

💖 Shoulder/Upper Body Mobility Work

💖 Warm Up and Turn On the Core


I love a good sequence that prepares you for Headstand! That's what we'll be working on for this BADASS YOGA WORKSHOP!


We'll spend 15 minutes preparing your body for Headstand! Even if you don't come into the full expression of the pose, there's a variation for everyone. Let me show you the steps! Learn which poses are the building blocks to this fun inversion.


This week's class sequence is listed at the end of this blog post! 👇


Headstand is such a fun inversion to work on. It takes consistent practice in order to nail this yoga pose. You also have to believe it's possible for you. I know you can give this fun pose a try!


Practice with me to the BADASS YOGA: HEADSTAND FLOW on demand in the FREE VIDEO LIBRARY.

 

ASANA LAB: HEADSTAND

Benefits:

  • Known as the " king" of all yoga asanas, this rejuvenating inversion shifts our perspective

  • Calms the nervous system

  • Improves focus

  • Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands

  • Improves digestion

  • Can be therapeutic for menopause and infertility

Contraindications:

  • Approach this pose with caution and check with a medical professional or yoga instructor before practicing

  • Neck or disc injury

  • Spine or back injury

  • Low or high blood pressure

  • Shoulder injury

  • Heart condition or stroke

  • Headache

  • Pregnancy (check with your doctor)

  • Menstruation (check with your doctor)

Getting Into the Pose:

  1. While this posture provides many benefits, please use caution and avoid it altogether if you have any head or neck injuries. Please see other contraindications.

  2. Begin on your hands and your knees. Interlace your fingers and bring your pinky fingers level with one another. Lower your forearms to the floor and bring your elbows shoulder-width distance apart.

  3. Bring the crown of your head to the floor and nestle your head into your slightly cupped hands. Firm your shoulders onto your back in order to engage your upper back.

  4. Slowly lift your knees up off the floor and walk your feet closer to your elbows until your hips stack above your shoulders.

  5. Lift onto the balls of your feet and engage your pelvic floor muscles. Mindfully lift both feet up off the ground (you may bend your knees as you lift your legs) and lift both legs up perpendicular to the floor. Keep your toes active and press the balls of your feet towards the ceiling

  6. Continue to keep your upper body strong as you firm your shoulders on your back. Keep your pelvic floor muscles engaged, and your tailbone drawing towards your feet.

Alternatives & Options:

  • Take a Standing Forward Fold instead of Headstand

  • You can practice Headstand against a wall for support until you find your balance

  • You can place a folded blanket or yoga mat underneath your forearms and head for more cushion

  • Once you’re up in the Headstand, extend your legs to the sides to form a Y shape

  • Eagle wrap your legs

  • For core strength lower your legs to 90 degree angle slowly, and press back up again

  • Tripod Headstand (It’s quite fun to take this variation from Wide Legged Forward Fold)

  • Core work in Tripod Headstand (knee tucks, legs lifts, etc.)

Coming Out of the Pose:

  • To release, slowly lower your legs back down to the floor. Lower your knees to the floor, and rest in Child's Pose for several breaths before sitting or standing up.

Muscles Affected:

  • Strengthens arms, shoulders, legs, core, and spinal muscles

  • Relieves lower back tension and lengthens spinal muscles

Recommended Hold Times:

  • 5-20 breaths

Other Names for this Pose:

  • Sirsasana

  • Salamba Shirshasana

 

BADASS YOGA: HEADSTAND FLOW


Practice this sequence with me HERE ⬇️


Hollow Body Reclined Tabletop

One Leg Extended - other side

Hollow Body Hold

Boat Pose

x2


Cat/Cow

Puppy Pose

Forearm Plank

Scapula Push ups

Dolphin Pose - Forearm Plank

Downward Facing Dog


Knee to Elbow

Warrior I - Eagle Arms

Humble Warrior

Side Plank

Wild Thing


Headstand

Child's Pose

 

Check out my FREE VIDEO LIBRARY for more BADASS YOGA classes!


💖 Leah

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