Are Headstands Bad For You?
Doing a yoga headstand can provide a lot of benefits to an individual that practices it regularly. A lot of long-term yoga practitioners oftentimes suffer from neck pain or injury because of doing a headstand. In this article, we will answer the question “are headstands bad for you?” Stick around and find out whether this asana is perfect for you to practice on a regular basis or not.
Benefits of Doing Yoga Headstands
Yoga headstand is one of the most popular poses in yoga and has lots of benefits when it is done properly. Here are some it can offer:
- Helps improve the blood circulation and allow the heart to rest from having to pump blood to and from the feet back to the heart continuously.
- Provides a lot of nutrients to the head, making the face have that glowing youthful look.
- Regular practice helps improve an individual’s mood.
- It also helps boost an individual’s confidence level, doing a headstand is not that easy and can be quite difficult to master. Once you are able to it regularly, you can feel really good about yourself.
Dangers of Practicing Headstands
While there are benefits of doing a headstand, you can’t help yourself to ask “are headstands bad for you?” A yoga headstand, when done incorrectly can pose dangers to a person. Here are some of them:
- The neck’s 7th vertebrae are the smallest among the vertebrae in an individual’s spine. It is designed to only hold the weight of a person’s head. There are individuals who have heavy heads and there are tendencies for them to suffer from neck tension and chronic pain.
- Headstands are done with the head off the floor. An individual must lean on his or her forearms and shoulders and not on their heads.
- Individuals who have no idea on how to properly do the headstands usually do not have strong shoulder and back muscles, so they tend to lean the weight of their whole body on the head and neck. This occurrence can cause the disks in between the neck vertebrae to become extremely compressed and can often lead to injuries like a pinched nerve or slipped disk.
- Yoga originated in India and has been practiced by yogis who generally have smaller and light body frames. It is very harmful to a large individual who will stand on their head and lean their whole body weight on their fragile neck and head.
- The discs on the neck vertebrae functions as shock absorbers. They must not get too thin or flat so the vertebrae will not get too close to one another. This can lead to pinching the nerves of the spinal cord. The discs are made of 90% water and need to continuously absorb fluid to remain healthy, thick and do their function properly.
- When doing a headstand, it can put too much weight on the head and the neck and the disks will be compressed and can also affect the nerves on the spinal cord. When the disks are compressed too much, they will not able be able to absorb fluids and will result in being dry, thin, and not function properly as shock absorbers.
- Headstands done incorrectly can cause disc herniation, and it can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the arms and neck.
- Individuals who have high blood pressure must avoid performing yoga headstand.
Consider the following options when doing a headstand:
- Build your arms, shoulder, and back muscles so you will be able to lift your head off the floor and not lean your whole body weight on it.
- Individuals who have a higher level of consciousness their body are more prana than it is flesh. Have a light pranic body, wherein the body mass transforms into frequency.
Are Headstands Safe?
So is it safe to do headstands? Is it advisable to practice it regularly? The certain amount of weight applied on the neck and head must be done slowly and controlled. When headstands are done with high-momentum kick up and kick down, this can cause the neck and the head to be at risk for fractures, strains, vertebrae injuries, and other complications.
To practice headstands safely, the most difficult entry and exit must be done: the pike-up and pike-down. This method has the least amount of force on the head and neck and it has the lowest weight loading rate.
To do the split-leg entry and exit: Keep the knees bent and pull them into the chest, straighten one leg and the other leg will follow until both the legs are stacked about the hips and shoulders. To do split-leg exit, just do the process on reverse.
Alternative Poses for a Headstand
- Wide-legged forward fold – This pose gives benefits of performing an inversion pose. Step the legs wide apart and fold them forward, and then dangle the head and neck.
- Handstand – This pose may be a difficult pose to do but it can be quite fun and challenging at the same time.
- Inversion chairs – Inversion chairs allow an individual to turn upside down without having the risk of getting injured or accidents that can cause harm.
Tips to Prevent Injury and Accidents
- Start the pose with the forearms on the ground. The majority of the weight must be applied on the forearms than the crown of the head.
- Build up the core muscle strength. The strength of the arms and core will help you do the headstand pose easily.
- Start slowly, never rush and kick up into headstand, this can cause injuries to the head, neck, and the vertebrae.
- When performing the headstand, you can prevent injury by doing the pose properly and focusing on the alignment.
Headstands may look easy to some and can be quite exciting to do, but there are dangers to it especially when it is done incorrectly. To prevent yourself from getting injuries, especially on the head and neck, make sure to only do it if you have a yoga expert to guide you and never rush doing the pose, always make sure to do the right alignment and focus on putting all the body weight on the forearms and not on the head.