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Chair Headstand

Before attempting this pose, review this list of cautions. If you are not familiar with this pose, find a qualified yoga teacher to assist you the first time you do the pose.

Prop setup: Place two sturdy chairs against a wall on top of a sticky mat (so the chairs don't slip), facing each other, separated by sufficient space to place the head down between the front edges of the chairs. Place folded sticky mats on the seat of each chair, and a folded blanket on top of each sticky mat for padding.

Approaching the pose: The student stands facing the wall, bends forward and down, and places the head down between the chairs with the shoulders resting on the padded seats. The student then may scoot the chairs closer together so the front edges of the chairs just clear the neck. There should be solid contact between the shoulders and the chair seats (no chance of the shoulders slipping down in between!)

Going up: Hands grasp the edges of the chair seats that are opposite the wall (the hand grasp is not shown in the photo, but the hands grasp the chair seats about where the student's elbows are in the photo). The grasp is with the arms rotated externally, so that the palms face the wall, fingers are down, and thumbs are out. The heels of the palms are on top of the chair seat, the fingers wrap underneath. A very light hop up with bent knees gets one into the pose (have someone assist you getting up into the pose until you are comfortable doing it on your own).

In the pose: After the student is up in the pose the arms can (and should!) be relaxed into the position shown in the photo. While in the pose, the shoulders will be a bit away from the wall, but the buttocks and legs rest against the wall. Try to find peace and relaxation in the pose. Breathe evenly through your nose. (As an option, you may practice keeping your legs firm and strong part of the time, to help you when you do regular headstand, not using chairs.)

Coming down: When coming down from chair headstand, again grasp the chair seats with your hands as described above. Bend at the waist and lower your feet slowly to the floor, (have someone assist you if it's your first time!) If you scooted the chairs closer together before you went up, remember to scoot them apart before pulling your head up from between the chairs after coming down.

More cautions: Do not remain in the pose if you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or uncomfortable pressure in the eyes. Start with short times in the pose (less than one minute), and gradually build up as your own body allows, up to five minutes.


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