Headstand Transitions: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Oh headstands – how you make my heart sing, like literally make my heart sing.

If you like to get upside down, then you feel me on that sentence above. And if you’re working into the world of upside down asanas, then just know – inversions will make your heart sing.

Like make your heart belt out some serious jams, and here’s why:

Benefits of Inversions:

  • Reverses the blood flow and improves circulation.
  • Increases immunity and prevents sickness through the circulation of the lymph nodes.
  • Physically and mentally invigorating.
  • Cooling inversions, like shoulder stand and legs up the wall, will relax the nervous system, which taps into the parasympathetic nervous system, which then creates feelings of balance and calm.
  • Improves balance.
  • Increases core strength, especially in the upper body.
  • Builds confidence.
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Pin now, practice headstands later!

Okay – I think we’re safe to move on from the “Allie attempting to convince everyone why to get upside down talk”. 

Let’s get into this headstand tutorial, shall we yogis?

This tutorial is for yogis who have a solid headstand practice. You must be able to hold a headstand in the middle of a room, comfortably move your legs around, and all the while – breathe.

Interested in a yoga class to help you build towards headstand? Then check out this class: Headstand Yoga Video to Increase Confidence + Strength

The headstand transitions below are fun/interesting techniques that can be infused into your yoga practice. I encourage you to start sprinkling these here and there, don’t wait for the teacher to invite you into the transition, but instead take charge and just do the damn thing.

This where we grow yogis, when we step outside our comfort zone, when we take charge of our practice, and when we learn how to intelligently move our bodies from one posture to the next.

Keeping all of the above in mind, below are 5 Headstand Transitions to practice, play with, and most importantly – have fun!

1. Tripod Headstand to Bakasana

The How-To:

  • Start in tripod headstand.
  • Bend the knees, suck the low belly in, and slowly bring knees to the backs of the arms.
  • Take a breath to prepare – you got this!
  • On an inhale – push down through the hands, engage the core, begin to lift the head off the ground and straighten the arms.
  • As you transition from headstand to crow – gaze forward and look in the direction you’re going.
  • As you straighten the arms into bakasana, bring big toes together and heels towards the booty (this will help counter your weight).
  • If you’re feeling extra sassy here – lower back into headstand or shoot the feet back to chaturanga dandasana.

Headstand Transitions: A Step-by-Step Tutorial - Pin now, read later!

2. Tripod Headstand to Chaturanga Dandasana

The How-To:

  • Begin in tripod headstand and lower the legs down halfway – you must squeeze the legs together and fire up the core to hold this half variation.
  • Take a big, reassuring breath – you got this!
  • On an inhale breath – push into the hands, lift the head, and send the toes towards the back of the mat.
  • As you land the transition – bend at the elbows, shoulders will come in-line with the elbows, everything hugs into the mid-line, and you’ve made it into chaturanga!

This pose isn’t possible without full body activation. Remind yourself to stay engaged and integrated – think one long line of energy here (no floppy fish status here).

Headstand Transitions: A Step-by-Step Tutorial - Pin now, read later!

3. Prasarita Padottanasana to Tripod Headstand

The How-To:

  • Begin in wide-legged forward fold – aka prasarita padottanasana.
  • Plant the hands firmly into the ground and let the head hang heavy (if possible, the head is resting on the ground).
  • Bring your weight into the balls of the feet – this will rock the body forward and allow for the hands and head to connect with the Earth.
  • Engage your core, take a deep breath – you got this!
  • On an inhale breath – lift the feet up off the ground and come into a wide-legged tripod headstand, keep the legs and feet engaged here.
  • Once you’ve found this pose, slowly bring the legs and feet together.
  • To descend – on an exhale breath, split the legs apart and come back into the wide-legged variation.
  • Engage the core (like really suck it in) and slowly lower the feet back to the ground – no crash landings here yogis, make it seamless.

To end the transition –  ground down through the hands, straighten the arms, inhale to lift the chest.

This is a popular transition that can be practiced regardless if the teacher cues it… if you’re in prasarita – go for it!

Headstand Transitions: A Step-by-Step Tutorial - Pin now, read later!

4. Bound Headstand to Pincha Mayurasana

The How-To:

  • Start in bound handstand – fingers clasped around the head and forearms rooting down into the mat.
  • Split the legs and come into a deer stance – this variation is to strictly help with balance and defying gravity.
  • Bring your attention to the forearms and your clasped hands – this is where the work happens.
  • On an inhale breath – push into your forearms, keep the hands clasped tight, and start to lift up into pincha mayurasana.
  • Gaze forward as you transition from headstand to forearm balance – always look in the direction you’re heading.
  • Stay here, make shapes with your legs, or simply come down whenever your ass has had enough!

Headstand Transitions: A Step-by-Step Tutorial - Pin now, read later!

5. Tripod Headstand to Seated Transition

The How-To:

This a quick and easy transition that can be used in-between seated floor postures that require switching sides. Examples of this are twists and hip openers. For this example, I showcased switching sides in ardha matseyandrasana.

  • Begin in ardha matseyandrasana – let’s pretend you just finished three rounds of breath.
  • Inhale to unwind the body, plant the hands in front of you, and bring the crown of the head to the ground.
  • Push into your feet, lift the hips, and find a half headstand variation – keep the legs crossed as  you push up into the pose.
  • Take a moment, reorganize, then switch the feet.
  • On an exhale, lower the feet down to the ground, let the knees soften down too, the hips soften down, and lift the chest back up to a seated posture.
  • Take the twist on the opposite side.

Easy peasy – right?

This transition should be quick yet controlled, please think through each step and control the body.

Headstand Transitions: A Step-by-Step Tutorial - Pin now, read later!

You made it yogis – holy hella upside down time!

Please, please, please – practice safety when practicing inversions or any inversion for that matter. If you’re new to the yoga world, stay close to the wall, build up your strength and stamina, and then come back to these transitions.

Until next time – xoxo.

Hey! I’m Allie.

I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.

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REKINDLE YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

If your practice has waned, if your yoga journey feels lonely or you like the way I share yoga’s teachings, then this is where you need to be. Join me once a month, for free, to practice yoga as a community.