Yoga Posture: Headstand, MASSAGE Magazine“Headstand,” or Sirsasana, is a challenging posture that should only be attempted if you have no problems with your neck or shoulders. It is effective for strengthening the neck, shoulders, back, glutes and legs. Headstand is a great posture for building balance and poise in the body. Practice this posture against a wall until you build up the strength and balance to perform it free standing.

Moving into the pose:

1. Starting from a sitting position, move onto your hands and knees.

2. Shoulders should be over your hands as you bring your elbows to the floor.

3. Keeping your elbows on the floor, bring your hands together and interlace your fingers.

4. Bring the crown of your head to rest flat on the floor, with the back of your head resting in your palms.

5. Begin to walk your feet toward your body while keeping your back and neck long and firm, and your hips directly above your head.

6. Keep your legs straight and gently raise one leg at a time until your feet, hips and head are stacked on top of each other in a straight line.

Scan your body from head to toe

The crown of your head and forearms are flat on the floor with your weight distributed evenly; neck is relaxed but firm; shoulders and back are straight. Glutes and legs are firm, and toes are pointed towards the ceiling. Breathe deeply and with control for 15 to 30 breaths, focusing on relaxing any tense areas; the goal is to keep your muscles firm but not strained. To move out of the posture, slowly and with control lower one foot at a time toward the floor. Bring your weight to your hands and knees and sit back into a seated position.

Anthony DiTomaso, MASSAGE MagazineAnthony DiTomaso is an NCBTMB-certified massage therapist, Yoga Alliance-certified instructor, anatomy and physiology instructor, as well as professional fitness model. He is also an experienced instructor in personal training, nutrition education, energetic healing and Five Element and traditional Chinese medicine theory. DiTomaso has taught introductory massage courses and continuing education seminars for massage therapists and yogis throughout the U.S. He is the owner of Empowerment Unlimited Body Works Inc. and offers the DVD Yoga For Massage Therapists (