Yoga is not about crazy poses...but as they're out there are you interested about why people do them and how to do the headstand SAFELY?
Why do it at all?
The only reason you're doing the headstand is to have this amazing sense of focus necessary in the posture or you'll fall! This helps you turn inwards, calm down and get back to basics. Other side benefits are the balance improvement, the arm work, the core and glute work but you can get these side benefits with the preparatory poses too....you can also get the "inward turn" with a nice child's pose so it's up to you.
I was about to blog this lovely self practice that I do daily. But the headstanding bit of the practice is not something you should do willy nilly. So I'm starting with this headstand blog instead.
Looking around the web for articles that were good on headstands NONE I found include ALL the points I think you should take into account before you're doing the posture. For example this article is typical of lots out there:
It's ok actually-so read it in conjunction with these 3 points below. At least it mentions the stability and strength you need. At least it tells you not to kick up. BUT there are some extra SUPER IMPORTANT things. Please read them below:
1) Contra-indications for the headstand are conditions that mean you SHOULD NEVER try the headstand. If you have the following just don't do it. This isn't even an exhaustive list so please check with your doctor for a personal MOT before you crack on with standing on something that is not designed to be stood on:
- High blood pressure
- History/risk of stroke
- Brain tumors past and present
- Weak neck or any neck injury past and present
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Dizziness or problems with balance
- Eye problems like glaucoma
- Some say menstruation or pregnancy*
*not an exhaustive list check with your doctor, teacher and if in doubt leave it out.
2) Neck Alignment. Any article should be obliged to harp on about neck alignment. In everyone's anatomy -even if you dont have a condition like the ones above- there is a risk with headstands. Everyone has arteries going up to your brain in your neck which turn a right angle at the top of your neck. Already the blood is piped through a crazy angle before getting to your brain. Imagine a hose pipe with a kink in it. Like a hose pipe you dont want to make this angle worse and block off blood. So alignment of the neck is paramount. Think of keeping a natural curve in the neck and taking the weight of your body through your arms and not your neck.
This article is good to explain the anatomy of necks in laymans terms it goes into the nerves too so well worth a perusal.
3) Remember there is no scientific proof that someone is more elightened or clever or a better Yogi because they can do a headstand (insert any posture there). Yoga really isn't about the poses you can get into. Following some of the instagram legends I mentioned in my previous blog could make you feel that way.
Just enjoy headstands if you want to. Don't if you don't want to. Don't give yourself a hard time if you want to but you're not there yet. And do be safe. Tongue twister?