Do you have a mini panic attack when your yoga instructor says it's time to work on Headstands? Whether you've tried inversions a hundred times and can't stay balanced for more than half a second or are too intimidated to even try, here are five reasons Headstands aren't happening for you and how to get started hanging upside down.
You're Scared of Falling
This is a very real fear and a valid reason for not even attempting Headstand, but how will you know whether or not you can balance upside down if you never give it a chance? There are many ways you can do a Headstand and avoid the risk of falling. Try one of these: do Headstand in front of a wall, have someone spot you, slowly lift into Headstand instead of kicking up, or start with a Bound Headstand Prep where your feet never leave the ground (it's still a Headstand if you're balancing on your head!).
Your Base Is Unstable
Whether you're doing Bound Headstand (shown in the photo above) or Tripod Headstand with your palms on the ground, your base needs to be strong and stable in order to support the weight of the rest of your body. In Bound Headstand, make sure the heels of your palms are pressed against the back of your head, and your elbows are a few inches away from your ears. In Tripod Headstand, keep your elbows at 90-degree angles. A strong base is the first step in building up to Headstand.
Your Upper Body Is Weak
Although Headstand takes a strong sense of balance, a strong upper body is also essential. If you feel like your upper body is weak, you won't be able to create and hold your stable base. Tone up those biceps, triceps, shoulders, and the muscles in your upper back by doing these upper-body sculpting poses, and throw in some of these push-up variations.
Your Core Is Weak
Slowly lifting into Headstand rather than jumping into it will help prevent falling, since the momentum of your flailing legs tends to make you lose your balance. And although getting into Headstand this way is much safer, since you're moving slowly, it takes a whole lot of core strength. Start in the Bound Headstand Prep position, with your legs straight and your feet on the floor. Try bending your knees into your chest in the Tuck position, and eventually you will be able to lift your legs straight into the air. If your midsection isn't strong enough yet, practise Boat pose and scissor abs to target your core.
You're Alignment Is Off
From the photo above, you can see that your hips should be stacked over your shoulders, and your feet stacked over your hips. If your torso isn't in a straight line with your abs engaged, it will be impossible to balance, even with a strong base. Ask your yoga instructor to watch you do Headstand so they can help you get your alignment right.