How To Do Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)

Supported Headstand, also known as Salamba Sirsasana, is one of the most rewarding poses. This powerful pose not only builds physical strength and flexibility. It also cultivates mental focus and a sense of freedom.

In this article, I will offer tips for how to safely and confidently incorporate it into your own practice. The pose has numerous benefits for both mind and body. Physically, it strengthens the core muscles, shoulders, arms, neck, and spine while improving balance and circulation.

Mentally, it requires intense concentration. As well as a willingness to let go of fear and trust in your own abilities. As you become more comfortable with this pose over time. You may begin to feel a sense of liberation from self-doubt or limiting beliefs. About what you are capable of achieving on your mat or in your life outside the studio.

So if you are ready to take on this challenging but rewarding pose, read on!

Supported Headstand Video

Step-by-step Instructions

Here are the step-by-step infos:

  1. Start by kneeling on your mat with your forearms resting on the mat in front of you. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders and your hands are clasped.
  2. Place the top of your head on the mat, creating a stable triangle with your forearms and head. Your hands should be cupping the back of your head.
  3. Tuck your toes under and lift your knees off the mat, coming into Dolphin Pose.
  4. Walk your feet closer to your face, keeping your legs straight, until your hips are stacked above your shoulders.
  5. Engage your core and lift one leg off the ground, bringing your knee towards your chest.
  6. Extend that leg up towards the ceiling, using your core and leg strength to lift your other leg off the ground.
  7. Find your balance and slowly begin to straighten both legs, coming into a vertical position with your legs pointing towards the ceiling.
  8. Keep your gaze fixed on a spot on the floor to help maintain balance.
  9. Press firmly through your forearms and lift through your shoulders to create space in your neck and prevent excessive pressure on your head.
  10. Stay in the pose for 10-30 seconds, or as long as you feel comfortable and stable. Gradually increase the duration as you become more experienced.
  11. To come out of the pose, slowly bend your knees and lower your feet back down to the mat, returning to Dolphin Pose.
  12. Rest in Child’s Pose or any other resting position to recover and release any tension in your neck and shoulders.


  • Practice this pose with an experienced instructor if you’re new to it, as it involves being upside down and proper alignment is crucial for safety.
  • Avoid this pose if you have neck or shoulder injuries, high blood pressure, or are menstruating.
  • Use a wall or have a spotter nearby for support and guidance until you feel confident and stable in the pose.
  • Take your time and progress gradually in this pose. It requires strength, stability, and body awareness.
  • Regular practice and consistent engagement of your core muscles will help you improve your stability and control in the pose.
  • Seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor to ensure you are practicing safely and effectively.

Salamba Sirsasana Benefits

It has numerous benefits, including:

  1. Strengthens the Upper Body and Core: This pose requires you to engage your shoulders, arms, and core to maintain balance. Which can help to strengthen these areas over time.
  2. Improves Circulation: Being upside down increases blood flow to the brain. This can help to improve mental function and increase focus and clarity.
  3. Stimulates the Lymphatic System: The inversion can help to stimulate lymphatic drainage. It can boost the immune system and help to remove toxins from the body.
  4. Relieves Stress: Like many inversions, the asana can have a calming effect on the mind. It’s helping to relieve stress and mild depression.
  5. Improves Digestion: The inversion can help to stimulate the digestive system, improving digestion and helping to relieve symptoms of constipation.
  6. Strengthens the Spine: The pose can help to strengthen the spine and improve posture. This can be beneficial for people with back problems.
  7. Improves Balance: Practicing can help to improve balance and body awareness. This can be beneficial for other physical activities.
  8. Stimulates the Pituitary and Pineal Glands: These glands are responsible for hormone production and regulation. The inversion can help to stimulate these glands. It can have a positive effect on overall health and well-being.

Please note that while the posture has many potential benefits, it’s a challenging pose that should be practiced with caution.

It’s not recommended for people with certain health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart conditions, and certain eye conditions like glaucoma. It’s always best to learn new yoga poses under the guidance of a qualified instructor.

Supported Headstand / Canva

Preparing for The Pose: Building Strength and Flexibility

As you prepare for the asana, it’s important to focus on building strength in your shoulders and core, as well as flexibility in your spine and hamstrings.

Some great exercises to incorporate into your yoga practice include forearm plank, dolphin pose, and elbow-to-knee crunches.

To begin, start in a tabletop position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees under hips. Come onto your forearms, interlace your fingers, and tuck toes under. Lift hips up towards the ceiling to come into dolphin pose.

Take a few breaths here, lengthening through the spine while pressing down through the forearms. Then lower back down onto all fours and repeat several times before moving onto elbow-to-knee crunches.

On an exhale, bring your right knee towards your right elbow. While rounding through the spine and engaging the abdominal muscles. Inhale back to tabletop position before repeating on the other side.

With these exercises incorporated into your practice regularly, you’ll soon feel stronger and more flexible as you work towards headstand.

Now let’s move on to some beginner tips for getting started with this challenging pose!

Supported Headstand Pose Beginner Tips

Firstly, it’s important to have a solid foundation before attempting the pose. Start by ensuring that your yoga mat is stable on the ground and that there aren’t any distractions around you.

Next, warm up your upper body and shoulders through sun salutations or other strengthening exercises. Additionally, engaging in preparatory poses such as dolphin pose or puppy pose can help build strength in your shoulders and neck while also improving flexibility.

Finally, always listen to your body and avoid any movements that cause pain or discomfort.

By incorporating these beginner tips into your practice routine, you’ll be able to safely progress towards mastering the asana. Without risking injury or causing strain on your neck muscles.

In order to continue progressing smoothly towards this challenging asana without encountering common mistakes along the way. It’s important to stay focused on proper form and alignment throughout each step of the process.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Let’s take a look at some common slip-ups and how to sidestep them, so you can nail this tricky pose with ease.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when attempting to start, is placing the weight on the forehead instead of the crown of your head.

This can cause strain on your neck and lead to injury. Make sure to align your head so that the back of your skull rests on the mat. While the crown of your head supports most of your weight.

Another mistake is failing to straighten your legs fully. To avoid this, interlace your fingers behind your head and lift up through both arms as you hold the pose. Engage your core muscles and press down through your forearms as you lift up through your pelvis.

Remember to keep lifting through both buttocks equally. Draw up through both inner thighs towards the ceiling for proper alignment in headstand.

Once you’ve mastered these tips, we can move onto modifications and variations to suit your practice.

Supported Headstand Salamba Sirsasana Yoga / Canva
Supported Headstand Salamba Sirsasana Yoga SUP

Modifications And Variations To Suit Your Practice

Now, it’s time to explore how you can customize your practice with different modifications and variations. If you’re a beginner, it’s important to start with the basic pose. Then gradually work your way up to more advanced variations.

One of the most common modifications is tucking the back of your head into your hands. Instead of placing the crown of your head on the floor. This reduces any pressure on your neck and allows you to focus on balancing.

Another modification is bending your knees slightly as you come into the pose. This will help you engage your core muscles and maintain stability while in the posture.

You can also try placing your forearms on the floor. Instead of clasping them together behind your back. This variation assists in stabilizing yourself while holding this pose longer without feeling much pressure in your upper body.

Remember that each person’s body is unique. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different modifications. Until you find what works best for you! As always, make sure to listen carefully to your body. Come out of the pose if anything feels uncomfortable or painful.

Tuck your toes under when coming out of this posture slowly and safely, then rest before attempting again until comfortable doing so consistently with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of Salamba Sirsasana?

The pose strengthens the upper body, improves circulation, relieves stress, and stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands.

Who should avoid headstand?

People with high blood pressure, heart conditions, certain eye conditions, neck or back injuries, and pregnant women should avoid this pose.

How long should you hold Salamba Sirsasana?

Beginners should hold for a few seconds, while experienced practitioners can hold for 3 minutes or longer.

How can I safely practice Supported Headstand?

Learn from a qualified yoga instructor, use a wall for support, and always warm up properly before attempting the pose.

What should I do if I can’t balance in headstand?

Practice against a wall, use yoga props for support, and practice other balancing poses to improve balance.

What are some preparatory poses for Supported Headstand?

Dolphin Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Child’s Pose can help to prepare.

What are some counterposes for Salamba Sirsasana?

Child’s Pose or Supine Bound Angle Pose are good counterposes after practicing the asana.

Yoga Supported Headstand Salamba Sirsasana / Canva


The Supported Headstand is a classic yoga pose. It requires guidance from a yoga teacher, especially for beginners.

This pose involves placing your head on the floor, with the crown of the head touching the yoga mat. While your head and neck are supported by your hands, which are placed together and interlaced.

The shoulder blades are engaged, and the buttock is lifted toward the ceiling, creating a vertical line with the body.

The knees are bent and brought into the chest. Then gradually straightened as you lift your feet away from the floor. The upper body and core strength are essential to maintain this pose.

The pose begins with the yogi on their hands and knees in a child’s pose. Then transitioning to tuck your toes and lift the knees off the floor.

The forearms rest on the mat, and the elbows and outer forearms bear the weight, reducing pressure on your head. The palms are flat on the mat, and the upper arms are engaged.

As you become more experienced with this pose. You can move away from the wall and perform this pose in the center of the room.

The feet are lifted toward the sky, and the legs are raised until they are perpendicular to the floor. The thighs are kept together, and the balls of the feet are pointed toward the sky.

To come out of the pose, you slowly lower your legs. Then bend one knee, then the other, bringing your feet back to the floor. You can then rest in child’s pose.

Salamba Sirsasana strengthens the shoulders, arms, and core, and calms the brain. It’s important to keep the weight evenly distributed between the head and forearms. Continue to press the inner wrists actively into the floor.

As you become more comfortable with the pose, you can gradually add 5 to 10 seconds to your hold time. Until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes.

Remember, it’s important to use a folded blanket or a yoga mat to cushion your head and neck. Always perform this pose under the guidance of a yoga teacher if you’re not experienced with this pose.

Salamba Sirsasana Supported Headstand / Canva