Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)

Head Stand 2 (tripod)
Level: Intermediate

Alamba = a prop or support. Sa = with or accompanied by. Shirsha = the head.

Organizing the Pose

  1. Fold a mat up and place a folded blanket on top for padding.
  2. If balance is an issue, set yourself up against the wall. If you are using the wall, it is important to be close to it so that you are not pushing your hips out into the middle of the room and sitting in the lower back when you bring your heels to the wall.
  3. Kneel in front of your mat/blanket set up and place the palms on the floor on either side of the knees.
  4. Lift the hips and place the crown of the head on the floor close to the knees. You want to end up with the elbows bent at a right angle, so it may take an outside eye to judge the correct position at first.
  5. Take care not to be too much toward the hairline, nor too much towards the back of the head: too much towards the hairline and the throat will get compressed, too much towards the back of the head and the back of the neck will get compressed.
  6. Pick the hips up and straighten the legs.
  7. Stack the hips up over the shoulders.
  8. If you are unsure about coming up into the full pose, hold this pose for 20-r0 seconds and then come down. Once you build up strength in the arms and upper back over time you may feel stable enough to come up.
  9. Either bring the knees into the chest and take the legs up or stretch the legs out into Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose). End up with the legs vertical.
  10. Hold this position for 30 seconds to begin with. As you become more proficient you may build your time up, anywhere up to 3 minutes, according to your capacity, building up carefully over a period of months.
  11. Exhale, come down in the same manner as you went up and touch the feet lightly to the ground. Coming down heavily puts a lot of stress on the neck and should be avoided.
  12. Rest in Child’s Pose for several moments before coming up.

Practice Points

  • Roll the weight into the index fingers and thumbs.
  • Reach the shoulder blades and triceps into the elbows as you draw the biceps back into the armpits and lift the outer collarbones.
  • Broaden the collarbones and balance the weight evenly between them.
  • Widen the neck, throat and upper back.
  • Stretch up strongly through the sides of the waist and legs.
  • Soften and widen the buttocks.
  • Soften and widen the chest, neck and throat.