So you want to learn how to headstand?

Headstand / Sirsasana is such a fun pose to learn, but can also be a slow and rigorous process to get to. It takes dedication and time to safely prep for this inversion. Once you feel your feet up in the air and you nail that first real headstand after endless amounts of work – it feels magical. It opens something inside you that wants to learn more about the wonders of the human body, and a strange adrenaline rushes through your senses. It is the ultimate mind clearer – you won’t be thinking about anything else other than your body and how you feel while in headstand 😉

It took me a year or so to really start feeling the hips stack over the shoulders and my core engage, where I could safely pull away from the wall and overcome the fear of getting upside down. I practiced every day, sometimes only for 20 minutes. The key is persistence and commitment to working on the prep poses to properly build the foundations for getting into a safe headstand.

I hope you find this useful : happy headstanding!


There are some major benefits to Sirsasana other than it being a fun pose to test limits and get upside down! Here are some of my favourite benefits.

Increases Blood Flow

When you are upside down, you are optimizing nutrient flow and sending extra oxygen to the eyes, head and scalp! It is said to aid in nutrient delivery to the hair follicles – but I really can’t promise you less grey hairs by doing a headstand 😉

Strengthens the Body

A major benefit to headstand is the amount of muscle being built in the shoulders, arms and core. Learning to activate those new muscles in the prep poses helps improve your upper body strength and muscular endurance. We use this new found strength to take the weight off of the head and neck, using the forearms and shoulders to push away the ground – it’s a major workout!

Increases Focus

Ever hear the yoga teacher say “clear your mind” and you just can’t? Well, headstand is one of those poses that requires your utmost concentration so you really don’t have the ability to think about anything else other than your headstand and the burn in your abs. Getting comfortable in a headstand will also help reduce fear and worry, while improving your mind and keeping your attention clear and focused.


Hopping up or donkey kicking

My number one rule when teaching a headstand is to never jump up! Walking the feet closer to the head and pressing in to the elbows to and lift one leg up at a time is much safer than hopping or kicking up, possibly injuring your neck or spine! This also helps train the body into feeling the hips above the shoulders by using the lower abdomen to keep them floating high.

Dumping into the head and shoulders

Distributing weight in the forearms and shoulders is actually what keeps you up and balanced in a headstand safely. Do not dump the weight on to your neck, push the ground away from you using your forearms, releasing the neck and head from the weight of your entire body. It is called a ‘headstand’ but so much of this pose relies on spreading the weight between your arms and not overloading weight on to your head. This helps to build the neck strength necessary to hold unsupported headstands in a more advanced headstand practice.

Head, Hands and Elbow placement

To avoid splaying out the elbows – place your forearms down on the mat, and each hand to touch opposite elbow. That should be the correct distance you need for a strong, supportive base. Interlace the palms together forming a triangle shape and keep the elbows hugging in, placing the head slightly down on the ground with the back of your head settling into the nook of your palms. Keep the shoulders pressing away from the ears or your back will round, allowing the possibility of rolling backwards. If you find the elbows keep splaying out, you can use a strap to keep them shoulder distance apart. If they are too tight then shoulder openers before headstand is always a good idea. 

Below is a video on arm placement for headstand! Also how dumping into the shoulders looks like vs. pressing them away from the ears to create space.

Banana Back

The sway back or banana back is a curved spine in headstand due to the placement of the pelvis and the engagement of the core muscles. Most beginners will load a lot of the weight into their lower back creating an arch, since they are mostly focused on not falling over and aren’t engaging the core. This could lead to spinal injuries and bad muscle memory for your inversion practice.

Holding the Breath

Not much to say for this one other than, practice mindful breathing and don’t hold the breath.


Shoulders pressing down and away from ears.

Forearms pressing into ground.

Practice your Prep exercises and poses every other day. Consistency is key!

Always rest for 2 minutes in child’s pose after headstand.


Downward Facing Dog

Forward fold




Dolphin pose



Plank curls

Using the wall

– To practice pike

– To practice L-stand

A great way to get over your fear of inverting and relying on the wall behind you. L stand builds better form for headstand!

Moving away from the wall

It takes a lot of guts to move away from our handy friend “Paul the Wall” – but moving from the wall early on helps train the muscles to rely on working to keep you up – building proper muscle memory. In the video below are some examples of ways we can start to get into headstand with the wall a lot further away from you.

You can prep for pike without the wall by using a prop like a ball or a block/wheel or anything really like a couch 🙂

In the video below I am using a somewhat deflated exercise ball to prep for pike.

Once you get the hang of holding your balance in headstand it opens up a whole world of poses to play with. Inversions are my favourite things to practice and I love how they make me feel strong mentally and physically!

Here are some fun headstand variations below!

Leg Variations

Tuck, Stag legs, Eagle, Splits, Twist, Lotus, Butterfly, Tuck

Arm Variations

Supported, Tripod, Hands to elbows ,Fingertip, Straight arms, No hands


Remember to trust the process, sometimes it just takes a little longer than others and that’s ok! Don’t compare your progress to any one else’s – you are doing this for you 😉 The ego has a funny way of making us do things that can possibly hurt us, so don’t rush through and skip the prep. Take your time – it’s actually what helps you move faster than anything else and what has helped me the most.

Hope this helped you in some way! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube – follow me for more posts like this <3

I did it – YTT 250 over and out!

Yes! I did it, I finished my 250hr YTT at Yoga Tree in Toronto!! It was an amazing experience and although I was overwhelmed at first, it slowly just all made sense and I am so happy I made the decision to finally jump in and start training. My training was all day Saturday and Sunday, spread out over 3 months. I’m really happy I took it this way rather than the intensive one month program because with all the new things we were learning and the homework, weekdays were much needed to fully absorb it all.

I was grateful that my program covered many things: anatomy, ashtanga, hot yoga, restorative, yin, prenatal, philosophy, kids yoga. I had the time to go through each practice and have an experiences teacher guide me through it. I learned that kids yoga is actually really hard and probably not for me lol!


It was great to brush up on my anatomy as well. I did the basic highschool science and biology courses, but this experience was totally different than that. I was immersed in the body and how it functions, and completley drawn to learning more about it. We applied the things we learned about muscles and bones to yoga poses as well and the benefits of each. It was so helpful.

The main thing I loved about this program was all of the hands on adjustments and teaching they had us do. There were os many teaching exercises from the start, like day one, really! We had just learned Surya Namaskara A + B and were asked to try and teach it to the class. That would have been so nerve wracking but my classmates were amazing – we all clicked and and worked together well. The exercises became harder during the end, teaching a full class to someone, or guiding one person at the front into a pose. The best thing is that we really had the chance to see the growth in each person. By the end of the program, everyone was teaching so much better and our voices grew and sounded more confident as we added our own styles.

I’m amazed at how much I learned and how much I have grown mentally and physically. I have discovered a better me and one that makes me happy, and I’m thrilled to see all the opportunities that have come about already! My chaturangas are stronger than ever as well, so that’s pretty cool too. It’s a wonderful way to start off the new year.

I am scheduled to teach my first class at Yoga Tree, it is a hot yoga class at 3:30 on January 30th! Join me if you’re free 😉



New life changes with YTT

Isn’t it funny how different life can be in only 3 years? For me it’s totally different – a new lifestyle, new goals, new career changes, and it all has been slightly terrifying I must admit. Sitting at my computer working full time building website after website, I thought that was what I wanted to do forever. I loved it but at the same time, it was becoming static and my posture and body were also suffering for it. Developing carpal tunnel, bad eyesight and a hunched back, I was constantly in and out with my chiropractor who told me to take up pilates and yoga! I tried a few classes, and started becoming inspired by friends and people online to self practice as well.

I bought my first yoga mat and was on a mission to learn to do a headstand. I practiced prep postures and my headstand everyday, and after a month I felt it. That little burst of strength mixed into a sense of balance I have never felt before. Even though I toppled over less than a second after, I felt this intense feeling of joy, progress and accomplishment. Ananda : pure bliss. I was hooked after that. (I also learned to practice Aparigraha : non-attachment – because I didn’t get my headstand for a whiiiile :P) I was constantly practicing at home though, any chance I had!

I began my Instagram yoga page @asanavanessa October 2015 – so it has been just over 2 years since I started sharing my journey online. I was always pretty flexible, but never had an ounce of strength in my life – and hate lifting weights and working out at a gym. This huge community of global Insta-yogis made me feel comfortable and I ended up learning a lot about myself. To be more kind, patient, and change my lifestyle for a healthier way of living (I still indulge). But MAINLY deciding to put my full-time Web Dev career on hold for a more part-time position to take a chance and head into my Yoga Teacher Training!


@yogatreestudios where I am completing my training!

At first it was scary, waves of regret would wash over me, like am I making a huge mistake!?! But then this feeling of ease would overcome me and I would tell myself “no, you were meant to teach yoga, and maybe you can help someone else fall in love with the feeling of the practice too!” 

The date crept up pretty quickly and there I was, in my TT sitting there with 20 other people who also decided to take this huge leap in life. I haven’t posted too much about my first few weeks but so far I REGRET NOTHING! 😀 I can’t believe how scared I was to just listen to my heart – as cheesy as that sounds – and just believe in myself. I can do this, I can teach – I may suck at teaching now, LOL, but I am passionate to learn, and grow and challenge myself constantly to be a better teacher. And that is my current mantra to repeat to myself because wow, is it an overwhelming training filled with so much amazingness to learn.


My amazing yogi friend @queeniephair who inspires me everyday!!

I am going to write a separate post about my experience in the training – COMING UP SOON. But all I can say is I can’t wait to see what the next 2 years hold.

I bet it is going to be life defining.


September Yogi Surprise Box – Love of Yoga

One of my favourite times of the month is when I can come home and find a little purple Yogi Surprise box waiting for me! It is always filled with so many hand-picked items with the yogi or health nut in mind. This months September YS box is full of everything I love, and celebrates National Yoga Month – so you know it’s going to be gooooood 😉

The items in this box are meant to enhance our practice and help ground us in this transition to chilly autumn days. For the love of yoga, let’s get to it!


The best part is opening the box and just seeing past the Packing List at all the goodies inside. Knowing you get to pull each one out, one by one. It’s like a never ending birthday present, but tailored to my lifestyle! Right off the bat I saw food… brownies to be specific… brownie BRITTLE to be reaaallly specific!! Yes, Yogi Surprise, you know me too well.



You know it’s going to be a good box when you kick it off with Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle! I’m not going to lie, I opened these immediately and started munching on them. WOW. SO. YUMMY. I had to stop myself from eating the whole bag and quickly packed it away, saving it for my Teacher Training this weekend as a good power up snack.

Underneath the Brownie Brittle was a beautiful geometric designed yoga strap from Yoga Design Lab and Scentuals Yoga Mat Spray. Super handy to keep in my Yoga bag for my Teacher training as well. We started using straps like this one so it definitely came at the right time and in an extra long length. Also, it’s so pretty! Next was a 100% beeswax candle in a cute tin from Barefoot Lake. It has a yummy lavender and peppermint scent and it is going to accompany me the next time I take a bath. It is meant to help slow down and soothe creating a tranquil space between body and self.

I kept digging through the box to find an aromatherapy incense sampler made from a blend of natural essential oils and hand rolled by local village women in South India. 25% of Auromere’s incense profits go towards supporting education in rural India, so go check them out!! Also included at the bottom of the box was a book by called Yoga To The Rescue: Ageless Beauty. It talks about some key poses that help keep the body rejuvenated, somewhat slowing down time. Such a handy little book! I always love when there is food and something to read while I eat the food in my Yogi Surprise Box hehe.


“Is that box empty yet? I want to try and fit”

I went through my Yogi Surprise Lifestyle box, but the fun isn’t over yet! I also got the Yogi Surprise Jewelry box! A cute little box that has two pieces and a snack.


Opened it up and saw my beautiful friend Alexzandra Peters on the insert. SO that was awesome already. Just after I spotted a gorgeous mala, with deep and dark colours I knew I would love right away.


Made from African Turquoise and an accompanying Jade beaded bracelet. What a gorgeous set, and the quality feels incredible! Love the matching tassel as well, the pop of colour is stunning.

If you want a discount on your first Yogi Surprise – be sure to use the code YOGILOVE at checkout! You won’t regret this purchase, treat yourself – this one is WORTH IT! <3