Other than practicing at studio and get adjusted and helps of teacher, you also need to have constant practices to get into the pose. You can’t see your body when you’re standing on your head, so you have to record a video to check on yourself and give your own adjustment and alignment. While you already have a picture of yourself in mind, together with alignment to watch, muscles and techniques to incorporate, slowly, slowly, you will get there.
*Photo by Yuni Martin on Unsplash*
Steps + alignment + adjustment:
1.Start in all fours onto mat, shoulder over elbow. Take hold of elbows with the opposite hands to measure elbows apart equally.
2.Elbow stay at same position and interlock your finger, to form a triangle. Top of the head place in between the hands onto the floor and back of your head in the cupped hands. However, never press the weight onto the head.
3.Press on your shoulders, your shoulders are protracted and away from ears. Pull navel in towards spine.
4.Come up standing on toes and straighten knees, send hips to the sky without rounding your lower back or neck. Slowly start walking a little by little closer to shoulder until your hips are stacked over your shoulders. Means, slowly shifting weight from hips to the arms.
5.From here, you can lift one leg by one time straight up to the ceiling. When you feel stable, lift another leg straight up towards the ceiling. Or if you are confident, lift both legs up at the same time. Make sure your body is one straight line. Core and legs are engaged, spine is straight, rib cage in towards the spine, pull navel in towards the spine at all time.
6.Most of your weight should be on your arms and shoulder, they are pressed and lifted and not compress (not hunch shoulder). Cervical spine is neutral, no pressure at your neck.
In headstand posture, there should be no muscle lengthening but every body part is either stabilizing or contracting. Ultimately, body is stacked in a single plane. We need arms strength and upper body strength to build a solid foundation that allows us to stabilized in this pose. Shoulder joint internally rotate to prevent elbows flare out. The muscles of the rotator cuff and deltoid are concentric contraction, it will stabilize and protect shoulder joint. Serratus anterior is concentric contraction(shorten), it will stabilize scapular to prevent retraction of scapular. Eccentric contraction at triceps brachii also help to resist elbows to flare out. All of this leads to a stabilization of shoulders and arms. The stabilizer in headstand also from building of engagement of rectus abdominal and spinal extensor, iliopsoas and quadricep. Also, engage pelvic diaphragm to keep the sacrum stable.
Lastly, not to forget about breathing. Do not hold your breath. The inverted nature needs strong engagement of the abdominal muscles and which help to stabilize the center of gravity over the base of support. So, in headstand we keep our breath natural and smooth, by using ujjayi breath but shallower at throat area.
Be safe. Practice by the wall first and take enough warm up before trying to get into Sirsasana.