Tripod Headstand or Salamba Sirsasana II

How to Do Tripod Headstand
Tripod Headstand. Ann Pizer

Headstand is a tricky pose that should be approached with caution, especially by beginners. The classic yoga headstand is done with the forearms on the floor and the hands clasped behind the head. Tripod is usually treated as a more advanced version of headstand, but that's not always true. Some people who have trouble making sense of sirsasana I feel more comfortable with sirsasana II, perhaps because it more closely resembles the headstands they did as children. If you set up a tripod headstand correctly with good alignment, there's no reason not to try it before mastering the other version. In either case, make sure that when you lift into the full pose you do so with strength and control.

Also Known As:  Sirsasana B

Type of Pose: Inversion

Benefits: Improves balance and core strength.


  1. Begin in a wide-legged forward bend.
  2. Bring your head to the floor. It's ok if you need to bend your knees a little to do this.
  3. Place your palms flat on the floor and bend the elbows to 90 degrees.
  4. Make sure that the head and your two palms form an equilateral triangle. Do not allow the elbows to splay out.
  5. Shift your weight forward onto your head and hands so that you can lift the feet from the floor.
  6. Lift your legs out to either side. Slowly move them toward a perpendicular position in relation to the floor. Once you have the legs up, stay here five to ten breaths. Make sure to press strongly into your palms the whole time.
  7. To come out, reverse the process by first bringing the legs wide and then rotating your pelvis down to lower them slowly to the floor so that you come back into your wide-legged forward bend.

Beginners' Tips

  • After step 5, bring your knees to rest on the shelf made by your upper arms. Practice balancing here. If you feel stable enough, try bringing the knees together at the level of your stomach and straightening the legs up from there.
  • You can also set up to come into tripod the same way that you would for a classic headstand. Just follow those instructions but place your hands in the tripod position. You can lift the legs all the way up or take the pit stop resting your knees on your elbows as described above.

Advanced Tips

  • For an advanced challenge, try moving from tripod headstand into crow pose. Your hands are already in the right position. As you are coming out of tripod, bring your knees to your upper arms with your feet touching. Then lift your head from the floor. Your body will start to tip back so engage the core strength to keep your feet up.
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