classical bound headstand

Huge THANK YOU to my friend Maddie, for agreeing to be my “yoga model” today. Had a great time relaxing by the waterfront with her, soaking in the gorgeous spring day, before we spent a little time going upside down. 

First and foremost, take your time setting up the connection between your forearms, the crown of your head, and the ground.

    • Your arms form a triangle, with fingers interlaced and elbows shoulder-distance apart.
      • Arm placement trick: kneeling on the floor, hold opposite hand to opposite elbow (I dream of Jeannie-style). Place your elbows down and bring your arms out in front of you until your fingers meet.
      • Lightly interlace your fingers, keeping palms wide open.
    • Place the crown of your head on the floor. The outer edge of your thumbs lightly cradles the back of your head.
      •  To find the crown of your head: place your palm on your head with the outer edge of your pinky lined up with your hairline. Your crown lines up with your nose in the center, roughly palm-width distance from your hairline.


Straighten your legs, pressing your forearms firmly into the ground and drawing your shoulders blades down your back, away from your ears.


Walk your legs closer to your elbows until your hips stack directly over shoulders.


Rooting down firmly through your forearms, pull your belly button in (toward your spine) and up (toward your rib cage) to stabilize your center. Begin to lift your legs one at a time. Take it slow and feel the movement stem from your core.

Notice her feet are really active. Sometimes I call these "yoga feet" - flex your feet (toes toward shins), and energetically extend out through your heels, spreading toes apart.
Notice her feet are really active. I like the term “yoga feet” – flex your feet (toes toward shins), and energetically extend out through your heels, spreading toes apart.

If this is really challenging, it might be enough to stay here and keep your feet on the ground, to practice setting up foundation and build core strength.

  • Try hovering your feet an inch or 2 from the earth and holding as long as you can – talk about core work! You’ll be bikini-season ready in no time after that one.

Another option is to bend your knees toward your chest and come up halfway, keeping your legs pressed together, your heels toward your hips. You can practice holding this variation, or from here slowly start to straighten your legs.



Hold for a couple of minutes, maintaining steady breath and gaze.

Side note: there’s a tendency to pop the bottom ribs out, which increases the curve of the lower back and indicates a need to re-engage the core. Reignite the press of your forearms, squeeze your shoulders together and toward your hips, and pull the bottom of your ribcage in so that the front of your hip bones can move slightly upward, establishing pelvic bowl alignment.

When you’re ready to come out of headstand, begin to pike down slowly.

Keep your legs active the entire way down, with your hips pulling back and your belly pulling in.

mh10mh11mh12Finish by resting in child’s pose for a few breaths.


Happy headstanding 🙂

Almost forgot – Maddie was nice enough to demo tripod headstand too. That one deserves it’s own post, coming soon.



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