Tripod Headstand Pose (Sirsasana II)

Photo of author
Written by
Last Updated:

Tripod Headstand Pose, Sirsasana II, (shear-SHAH-suh-nuh)

sirsa (means) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Headstand Pose, Mukta Hasta Sirsasana

Pose Type: Inversion, Balancing

Difficulty: Advanced

a man doing tripod headstand pose

Shift your perspective and find stability, balance, and stillness in this fun variation of the headstand pose.

Tripod Headstand Pose Fundamentals

Enjoy an array of physical benefits and find courage in this powerful balance pose.

Headstand is an iconic pose and is often what people imagine first when you tell them you practice yoga.

Still, don’t let that make you think you need to try it. In fact, many students who have been practicing yoga for years don’t practice this pose, as it simply doesn’t feel good for them. Listening to your body is crucial. There are many other inversions that may provide similar benefits to a headstand, such as Shoulder Stand Pose.

If you would like to try this pose, it would be best to learn under the supervision of a teacher. Tripod Headstand is an advanced pose, and correct alignment is necessary to enter it safely and avoid injury.

This pose is a part of traditional Hatha yoga and is highly esteemed as it offers many benefits. It boosts circulation in the body, and brings a supply of fresh blood to the brain, so it may help whenever you feel like you could use more focus, or if you feel lethargic or stressed.

Yogis also often report this pose brings a sense of ease, bliss, and presence. 

Tripod Headstand & Yoga Theory

If you are looking for an intention for encouragement when practicing the pose, you can consider one Tapas, one of the values mentioned in the Niyamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of yoga.

Tapas refers to discipline. Staying disciplined in your practice means you keep trying the poses even after you fail.

Continuous practice is always rewarded, and you will gain many of the benefits of the Tripod Headstand Pose simply because you keep trying. 

Tripod Headstand & Energetics

Energetically, the power of this pose comes from the fact that it balances all 7 chakras, and allows the prana, or life force, to flow freely in the body.

For this reason, it’s an appropriate choice to finish off any chakra-themed yoga class, regardless of what energy center it was focused on. 

Tripod Headstand Pose Benefits

  • Tripod Headstand Pose is a powerful core exercise. You will develop a lot of core strength when holding the pose, but also when entering it, as it includes the pike-up and down method instead of kicking up like some other arm balance poses.
  • Although you will stand on your head, it won’t (and shouldn’t) bear your body weight. Your shoulders and arms will do most of the work, making it a great upper-body strengthening exercise.
  • Stress relief is almost immediate when you’re holding the pose, as it encourages you to turn your attention inwards. It may also aid with other mild mental health symptoms, such as worry, overthinking, fear, or sleep troubles.
  • The inversion brings a supply of well-oxygenated blood to the brain, which may boost your focus and concentration.
  • Headstand also improves blood flow to the eyes, so it may be helpful in preventing eye issues. The fresh supply of blood to the scalp may help improve hair health. 
  • Reversing your body may help unclog your digestive organs and aid in releasing toxins and gases. It may also increase nutrient absorption and metabolism.
  • Reduces the build-up of fluids in the lower body, which may help those who struggle with edema.
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system, which is another way in which it helps release built-up toxins in the body. 
annotated image of a man in tripod headstand

How To Do Tripod Headstand Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

1. Begin on your hands and knees in a variation of the tabletop position, with your feet touching, and your hands shoulder-width apart. 

2. Rotate your elbows back, so they are in the same line as the shoulders and the wrists. Keep your fingers in a neutral position and grip the floor. Try to keep all points of your palms on the ground. 

3. Bend your elbows and place the top of your head on the ground, so it’s slightly in front of your hands, creating a triangle with your palms and head. 

4. Bend your elbows 90 degrees to feel stable in the pose, and keep them in line with your shoulders. 

5. Extend your legs and walk them as close to your arms as possible. 

6. Consciously engage your shoulders, core, and hips. Hold this prep for several deep breaths. 

7. When you’re ready to enter the pose, begin pivoting your hips forward. Still keeping the core engaged, you will notice the legs are beginning to naturally lift as you are leaning forward.

8. Slowly bring your legs up, so they are parallel to the ground. Now point the toes, tuck the tailbone and use the core to lift your legs all the way up toward the ceiling.

9. When you’re ready to release, first slowly bring your legs back to parallel, then use your core strength to bring them back to the ground.

10. Rest in Child’s Pose

Tips And Tricks:

  • One of the most important things about this pose is how you enter it. Although it may be easier to kick up, that may also lead you to lose your balance and fall. Instead, use the “pike” technique, in which you are starting with your legs extended on the floor like in Downward Dog, and using core strength to slowly enter the pose. 
  • It’s crucial to keep your elbows at 90 degrees. If they are bent too much, you will not feel stable, and you may compress the neck. If they are not bent enough, you may lose stability in the shoulders. 
  • If you don’t feel confident, practice next to a wall, as it will block your legs from falling if they begin to fall backward. 
  • Always learn this pose with guidance from a teacher, as it may be dangerous, difficult, or simply intimidating when you’re learning alone. Practice solo only after you’ve succeeded to achieve the pose under supervision.
  • Begin and end your Headstand practice in Child’s Pose to neutralize the blood pressure in your body.

Tripod Headstand Pose Variation:

Tripod Headstand Pose Variation: Tripod Dolphin

a man doing dolphin tripod headstand pose

The Tripod Dolphin Pose is a fantastic way to get comfortable standing on your head.

Your legs will still be on the ground, so you can focus on finding the correct position with your arms, and learn how to manage weight properly in the pose. 

To perform this variation, begin sitting on your knees. Place your hands in front of you and place the crown of your head on the ground. Your elbows are bent and parallel to the ground. 

Now lift your hips and extend your legs. Stand on the balls of your feet and keep your hips lifted. Engage your core, and hold for 3 to 10 breaths.

Tripod Headstand Pose Variation: Tripod Egg Headstand

a man doing a tripod egg headstand

 If you feel eager to go further after you’ve practiced the Tripod Dolphin for a while, you can try the Tripod Egg Headstand.

To perform this pose, starting from Tripod Dolphin, you will bring your left knee onto the left upper arm, and do the same with the right leg.

Keep the knees close to the armpits and point the toes towards the sky. Activate your core just as you would for the full headstand.

You can practice this variation next to a wall if you’re afraid you will fall over. 

Tripod Headstand Pose Variation: Supported Headstand

a man doing supported headstand

Supported Headstand Pose is another version of this asana. Some find it easier and some more difficult than Tripod Headstand. When learning the headstand, you may ask your teacher to show you both variations and see what works best for you. 

The main difference between the Supported Headstand and Tripod Headstand is the arm position.

In the Supported Headstand Pose, you will place your forearms on the floor forming a triangle, with your elbows shoulder-width apart and your palms touching. You will then clasp the palms behind your head for added support. 

All other steps for the pose are the same as for Tripod Headstand, and you should also use core strength to raise up, instead of kicking up.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Kicking Up. Don’t jump into a headstand, you should use the strength of your core to enter the pose and lift both legs simultaneously. Enter the pose gradually, being aware of each movement. 

Incorrect Weight Distribution. Although the pose is called a headstand, the goal is to put as little weight as possible on your head. Instead, you should manage most of your weight on your arms and use your core to support you. 

Injuries and Conditions

Avoid practicing the pose if you have diabetes, heart issues, osteoarthritis, high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, or an autoimmune disease that affects the musculoskeletal system. Also, avoid it if you have an injury or other ailments in the neck or if you’ve recently had eye surgery. 

Related Poses

Supported Headstand

Shoulder Stand Pose

Forearm Stand Pose

Preparatory Poses:

Dolphin Pose

Downward Facing Dog

Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Counter Poses:

Child’s Pose

Seated Forward Bend

Corpse Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Photo of author
Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.