How to build up a Tripod Headstand

5 min read

The tripod headstand, or Salamba Sisasana I, is a pose of strength and stability. This beautiful variation on the headstand allows you to flow between inversions, arm balances, and more.

To safely execute this supported headstand, you will need to pay close attention to the details and have a high level of body intelligence. This pose also requires great upper-body strength and core stability.

As you work towards achieving a tripod headstand, it’s perfectly acceptable to remain in the posture for several weeks, even months, while you gain the courage, strength, and stability necessary to achieve the full position.

Here are some tips and guidelines (including different stopping points for practice) on how to achieve a full tripod headstand.

Set Your Foundation

A stable, secure foundation is essential to any yoga posture. Don’t underestimate the power of basic poses to create powerful postures.

Begin kneeling on your knees. Place your hand where your wrist meets the palm, directly in front of your third eye (the space between eyebrows), to find your crown. The crown of your head is located where your middle finger lands.

This is the place where you want to base your inversion. You want to place your inversion here (not too forward or backward toward your neck, but directly at the crown of your hair so that your neck remains lengthened during the pose).

  • Release your hands so they are shoulder-width apart.
  • Create a space between the fingers by spreading your fingers out evenly.
  • With your fingertips, grip the mat firmly with your palms.
  • You can achieve perfect 90-degree angles by hugging your elbows towards the midline.
  • Release the crown of your head (the space that you have just discovered) at a 60-degree angled position in front of your hand to create an equal-sided triangle between your hands.

Note: With your head pressed against the floor, you should be able to see both hands. You cannot see your hand if your head is close to the floor. Create a larger base triangle. This is your tripod’s foundation. Make sure it’s stable and secure.

Press very hard into your hands. Hold 80% of your weight on your arms and hold no more than 20% in your head. In this position, be very careful to maintain an extended neck. Always elongate the base of the neck and the crown of the head in opposite directions.

Prepare yourself

There are several steps you can practice to get to a tripod headstand. Step one is already complete after you have laid the foundation.

You are now receiving the benefits of inversion. You can stay in this position for as long as it takes to feel comfortable.

When you’re ready, start preparing for the full posture.

  • Continue pressing firmly into the palms, and engage your core.
  • As if tightening a waistband, hug your belly button towards your back.
  • Inhale and lift your legs off the floor. Extend your hips towards the ceiling. Here, you will feel a significant increase in weight on your head. You can counterbalance by pressing more firmly into your hands.
  • Imagine pushing the floor away to redistribute weight to your arms. Step two is to press the floor away from yourself.
  • You are welcome to stay here and build strength as long as you feel appropriate.

You can begin walking closer to your hands by tiptoeing your feet. It is important to align your hips over your shoulders or as close as you can. The more your spine is aligned, the easier it is to get into a full headstand.

You can raise one leg off the mat if you are feeling stable. Then, bring your knee up to rest on the shelf your arm has created. As much as you can, keep your core engaged and aligned.

Continue pressing the floor with your palms in order to keep your weight centered on your hands and not your head. You can lift your opposite leg and rest it on the arm, creating the shelf.

Hug your knees energetically toward each other. Step three. You can practice here as long as you like.

Working to the Peak

When you are ready to try the full version of the tripod headstand, you will need to use your core muscles to lift your legs into the air. Inversions are impossible without a strong core, and a tripod headstand is not an exception.

To achieve this position, the integral system must be engaged and properly prepared. As you work towards the full variation, be sure never to kick into a position of the headstand.

You should not kick with force or momentum to the full variation if your core isn’t ready. If you are not yet prepared to float the weight of your legs up into the full variation (as it is very difficult! ), stay and continue with any of these preparatory steps.

Once you have a solid foundation, it is important to check back on your progress.

  • As you lengthen your neck and spine, place your hips above your shoulders.
  • Squeeze both legs together and engage your core.
  • Grab your knees tightly and slowly lift them off your arms.
  • Align your hips above your shoulders, and begin slowly to raise your legs straight upwards toward the sky. Hugging your legs together the entire way up.
  • Create a straight line starting at your head and ending at your toes. Press down on your hands and extend up to your feet.
  • Stretch your spine out in opposite directions.
  • Continue to draw in your core. Extend your neck, and maintain a steady breath rhythm.

Once you are ready, release the pose in the same way you entered it. Relax back into the Child’s Pose.

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