5 Common Headstand Mistakes

Wandering around the classroom as a teacher, there are a few very common misalignments that teachers see a lot of in headstands. Sometimes, these misalignments are based on an individual’s anatomy; sometimes, it’s just not knowing what you’re doing with your body parts (it’s hard to know exactly what you’re doing when you are upside down!).

No matter what the reason, you can easily fix most of these errors with some guidance and an additional warm-up maneuver to prepare your body better. When you are working towards a successful headstand, it is crucial to get the basics correct. In this free 30-day Yoga Challenge, our experienced teacher, Jess Rose, will teach you more about proper alignment. She will guide you carefully through your practice so that you remain aligned, strong, and safe.

Here are some common headstand mistakes that teachers often see, their feelings, what is happening, and how to fix it.

Hands too wide

A Tripod Headstand puts the greatest pressure on your neck, head, and upper spine. It can be a bit scary and requires a little extra care and love. It won’t be easy to get up and to remain up confidently if your hands are wide. You have made your base much smaller than it should be.

How To Fix It: The foundation of any headstand is a nice fat triangular shape. Tripod is a good example of this. We are thinking hand, hand, and head. You may have tight shoulders if you find this setup challenging. To prepare, you should do some shoulder stretching and warm-ups to fire up your core and shoulders.

Before you start practicing the Tripod, try using Eagle arms. A great stretch involves pressing your elbows and palms together. Lift the shape upwards and then backward, keeping your elbows together.

Elbows too wide

In the version, if you have forearms that are too wide, your body may turn backward because your base is not a big fat triangle.

How To Fix It: As you set up, place your hands on the opposite elbows. Take your hands and interlace to form a triangle. As if holding the hair tie of your perfect bun, put your head on the floor.

To maintain the shape, squeeze your elbows together and down into the earth. If your elbows continue to slide out, wrap a strap in this shape around your upper arms near the elbow.

You may have tight shoulders if you keep getting this “elbow slide.” Prep with shoulder openers prior to the Headstand. Eagle arms are great for this. You can also try going from dolphin pose to Forearm Plank without moving your arms. This will prepare your core and pelvis at the same time as the Headstand.

Dumping Into Head

It is indeed called a headstand. However, the majority of your weight should be on your shoulders and arms until your neck has enough strength to handle other arm variations. It is common for people to dump their weight into their heads when doing the Tripod and Forearm versions of Headstand.

It will feel as if you have a lot more weight in your head. You will be able to lift your head off the floor and come up against a solid wall if you do not dump it into your neck and head.

How To Fix It: By pressing more into your forearms or hands, this will improve over time. Grow a long, tall neck that looks like a giraffe. You can dig your fingers into the ground in Tripod and squeeze your elbows inwards for a stronger action.

Collapsed Shoulders

It’s easy to overlook the importance of keeping your shoulders strong when we learn how to do a headstand. In yoga, you may hear the instruction “move your shoulder away from your ear” quite often. This will encourage that giraffe’s neck and move some weight off your cervical vertebrae. Take the Headstand seriously. It’s an important way to protect your neck muscles.

How To Fix It: Get into a headstand with a cork block underneath each shoulder. Lean completely on the wall and feel yourself in a headstand without any weight on your head.

Try to imitate this feeling by lifting your shoulders while resting on your forearms or hands.

The “Sway Back”,

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a deeper spinal curve than another. This is not “sway-back,” “banana-back,” or anything else. It’s just natural. This is not a phenomenon of the spine but of the position of the pelvis and the activation of core muscles.

We are so concerned about not falling that we often compensate our legs or spine to keep us upright. If you do not pull your core muscles deeply, it can lead to a dangerous inversion in your spine.

How To Fix It: Your pelvis should be tucked in when you are doing a headstand (just like it would be in a standing position, as opposed to a back-bending position). It depends on your individual spine and pelvis anatomy. However, if you pull your abdominal muscles in all the way, your spine will still be supported, and your tailbone should have a natural tuck. This will keep you in a strong headstand.

You can only tell if you’re doing it by playing with your pelvis. Start by doing it against a wall so that you can feel how it feels without falling.

Try standing up in mountain pose, and activate your legs and feet just as you would do in Headstand. Next, bring your hips towards your ribs by curving your spine like you would in a cat pose.

As you keep your abdominal muscles engaged, move your ribs away from your hips and up to straighten the spine. Start again as soon as your core is no longer involved. This is the way you should hire when you are upside-down in a headstand or Handstand posture.

Important: Headstands should not be performed by people who have neck problems or scoliosis.

Different cues and preparations will resonate more with some people than others. Do not lose hope if you find a particular posture difficult. You can ask many teachers and practitioners what they do to find the right cues and preps.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *