Tripod Headstand – Your Ultimate Tutorial

Feel like a holiday? Need a change in perspective? Want muscular strength without the bounce? Oh, and your hormonal system is singing out for some TLC?

Being upside down is the answer. With Tripod Headstand you invert yourself safely & slowly, as you take each stage as you are ready. Here is the ultimate tutorial to do so safely.

Tripod fancy

Whenever we turn ourselves upside down, bringing our heart higher than our brain, we increase blood flow to our brain which is said to result in an increase in energy levels, better concentration and focus, as well as stimulation of our endocrine (hormonal) system via increased blood flow to the Pituitary & Pineal glands. Inverting also eases the gravitational pressure on our organs. Think mini-holiday!

The safe inversion of Tripod Headstand is practiced in our yoga classes regularly and is appropriate for all levels of ability as you can build up to it slowly and still get the health benefits from the set-up position (Step 1) on. You can stay in Step 1 for as long as you like before you take steps 2-5, the benefits are yours already. With any medical onditions, please check with your health care practitioner first. Allow yourself enough time to become comfortable with even a small amount of weight on your head. Co-operate and work with your body, rather than against it. Keep the ego in check and your cervical spine healthy. And keep breathing evenly.

Safe placing of hands and head: Hook your hands around your upper arms and bring your elbows onto your mat. Notice the indentation of your elbows and place the palms of your hands there. Now form a triangle with your palms and the very top of your head.

Tripod 1

Step 1, Set up position. Your hands are as wide as your shoulders. Form a tripod with your hands and the top of your head. Bring your knees back underneath your hips. Lift your shoulders away from your ears by engaging your upper shoulder muscles to keep your cervical spine long and free. Bring your elbows in towards your body, forming a box shape with your elbows, shoulders, wrists and head. Notice that there is a little weight on your head. Stay in this position for as long as you feel comfortable. A few breaths to a few minutes. Your body, your choice. You may never take steps 2-5, that is fine. Health benefits are yours already.

Tripod 2

Step 2. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips, like coming into downward facing dog. Make sure your knees were underneath your hips before you lift up otherwise it feels like you are going to round your back and topple forward. This is a strong position and there will be quite an amount of weight on the top of your head. Keep your shoulders lifted, push into your hands and allow the cervical spine to feel long and lifted. No crunching. Note the elbows stay in the box shape. Once you are comfortable to hold this position for about 20 breaths, you are ready to take Step 3. As always listen to your body and build up slowly.

Tripod 3

Step 3. Lift one knee up into the same side upper arm. Come onto tip toes with your other foot. Keep your lower core, your pelvic floor, your lower abdominal muscles, or if you rather call it your mula- and uddiyana bandha engaged, and your shoulders lifted. No collapsing into the neck. Practice with the other leg. Or go to next step. Keep your breath smooth, deep and even.

Tripod 4

Step 4. Lift both knees slowly into the upper arm. Yeah! This feels splendid, and you are welcome to stay in that position for as long as it feels comfortable for your neck & head. Remember the intention of lifting up, away from your neck and top of the head. Hello shoulders & back muscles do your work and belly muscles too. In my observation, this is the stage students stay the longest in. So again, celebrate & enjoy, you made it that far. No need to hurry further, ever.

Tripod 5

Step 5. From step four, practice bringing your knees together, so they just hover above your arms. This is massive core work. Bring them back down if this is enough for your core and shoulder muscles. Otherwise, keeping the knees together, slowly start to straighten your legs. Enjoy each millimetre of lift. Engage your whole body: legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, back. This is slow precision work. Keep your movements & your breath deep & steady. Enjoy being upside down & your achievements. Notice the quietness this pose brings.

To come out safely keep all core, leg and shoulder muscles engaged, bend your knees, draw them into your chest and let them land softly on your upper arms. Bring your feet to the mat. Now rest in pose of the child with your forehead supported by your palms or fists. Regardless what stage you practice, always rest with your forehead against something, bringing awareness back to the frontal brain. Enjoy the effects and celebrate some more.

Please take Tripod Headstand slowly, and check with your medical practitioner if you have any medical conditions, unless you come to my class and know that it is safe for you to do so. Enjoy & celebrate the greatness of your body and the powerful mind-body connection.

Let me know, how this is going for you.

Namaste, Bettina