Headstand, also known as Sirsasana, is one of the most important moves in yoga. But it can be challenging if you are new to yoga, or if you have problems with your neck or shoulders. But that doesn’t mean that you have to exclude this move from your practice. You can use a yoga headstand stool.
Some smart yogis out there have developed yoga headstand benches, also commonly called a feet up yoga stool, which can help you develop your headstand practice over time, and continue to benefit from headstands, even if you develop problems with your neck or shoulders.
In this article, we will go through everything you need to know about headstands, and why they are an important part of your yoga practice. We will also show you five of the best headstand yoga stools that are available today, and explain how you can use one to develop your practice.
Why Do Headstands?
Sirsasana pose offers a lot of health benefits and works to strengthen muscles across your entire body.
First, spending time upside down like this improves your blood circulation in general, and provides an immediate boost to your brain activity as the blood rushes to your head. This can also help prevent hair loss and premature greying, as this is often caused by a lack of blood circulation around the scalp.
The change in blood flow that occurs when you do headstands on a regular basis has also been shown to improve the nervous system, which means better mental alertness and clarity. It also enhances eyesight, smell, and taste.
It can also help you get better sleep, improve digestion, and reduce stress. There is even evidence that it can reduce the severity of coughs and colds.
On the more physical side, it works your core muscles, as you will need to engage all of your abdominal muscles, including your obliques, rectus abdomen, and transverse abdomen. You can engage these further with leg lifts.
Headstands are also a great way to strengthen your shoulders and arms. When you are in headstand, you should be pushing your hands, wrists, and forearms into the ground to alleviate the pressure on your neck and spine. This works to strengthen your arms and shoulders.
While you will be limiting your shoulder work while using a headstand yoga stool, you will still get all of these other amazing benefits.
Why Use A Yoga Headstand Stool?
Yoga headstand benches or yoga inversion stools are designed to make the headstand inversions possible for all practitioners, as headstands can be dangerous if you don’t do them correctly.
Newbie yogis often struggle to get the weight of their hips directly above their shoulders before lifting their legs. As a result, they jump in order to get their hips and feet up. This can lead to stumbles and falls that can do damage to the neck.
Newbie yogis also have a tendency not to push the weight through the arms into the ground enough, which puts a lot of weight onto the neck. This can do serious damage over time.
The yoga headstand bench alleviates this problem as it completely takes the weight off your neck. It can also make it easier to get up into the position, as it gives you something sturdy to hold onto while carefully levering your weight up into the position.
When using the feet up yoga stool, you have the opportunity to build up the balance and core strength needed to hold the pose, before working on the arm strength needed to do the pose independently.
This can also be good for experienced practitioners, who might develop problems in the neck or shoulders as a result of aging or an accident. With the yoga stool, you can continue to get the benefits of headstand, without the risk of putting any weight on your neck.
A yoga headstand bench can also be used to help advanced yogis to get into more challenging poses, such as headstand twists and backbends from headstand.
A word of warning. A yoga inversion stool should still not be used to assist anyone with high blood pressure to get into an inversion. They struggle to get into inversion because of the blood rushing to their head. It is still dangerous for these yogis to do inversions as it can cause weak blood vessels to burst.
5 Best Yoga Headstand Stools Reviewed
While there aren’t a lot of different options on the market for yoga stools, there are still dozens to choose from. To help you make your choice, we have come up with a list of five of the best that you can order online today.
YOLEO Yoga Headstand Bench – Best Overall
Our top choice for a yoga headstand stool that does the job is this option from YOLEO. It is made from durable solid steel constricted in an intersected frame, so it is highly stable. But your shoulders are also protected with 4cm thick sponge padding covered in comfortable PU leather.
This feet up yoga stool is a good size for most yogis, and can take up to 330 lbs of weight. There is also no sliding around thanks to non-slip pads on the bottom of the legs.
The yoga stool comes with a removable cushion to convert your yoga headstand stool into a stool for sitting. It is also nicely shaped to be used as a head prop in other yoga poses.
If you order online you will have to put it together for yourself, but it is simple and can be done within about five minutes.
This yoga inversion stool is also very affordable, and will only set you back around £50.00.
- Solid Frame
- Comfortable PU Leather
- Removable Head Prop Cushion
- 330 lbs capacity
Wateralone Yoga Headstand Bench – Best Extra Padding Yoga Headstand Stool
The Wateralone is very similar to our top choice, but it comes with extra thick padding, so is ideal for anyone with extra sensitive shoulders.
It starts with a similar solid steel constructed into an intersected frame for maximum sturdiness. It than has extra thick PU foam cushioning 5.5 to 6 cm thick, covered in leather.
It can take up to 330 lbs in weight, and should stay where it is mean to be with non-slip pads.
The chair comes with a similar removable cushion, which can be used as a head prop in other yoga poses, or to convert your feet up yoga stool into a sitting stool when desired. All this comes at a relatively affordable price-tag of £60.00.
- Solid Frame
- Extra thick padding
- Removable Head Prop Cushion
- 330 lbs capacity
LeKing Headstand Stool – Best Foldable Yoga Headstand Stool
If you prefer to have something that you can fold away, then consider this foldable yoga inversion stool option from LeKing.
It has a solid steep frame that clicks into place and won’t jump while in use. It also has non-slip pads to ensure no sliding around on your floors. The shoulder rest is made from high-density PU foam that gives nice protection.
The grip on this yoga headstand bench is particularly good, as you are holding onto a pair of handles, rather than the legs of the chair.
But, of course, the real stand out feature is that it easily folds up, so you can pop it away in a closet when not in use.
But this particular headstand chair does not come cheap. Expect to pay around £250 for this model.
333 Yoga & Fitness Headstand Bench – Best Natural Yoga Headstand Stool
If you prefer natural materials in your space, then this wood and leather yoga stool option makes a great alternative. It is just as sturdy as a steel frame, taking up to 330 lbs in weight. It has non-slip feet, so won’t slide around your home even with heavy weights.
The padding is uses four individual layers of protection to create a cushion two inches thick, which is covered by premium PVC leather.
Again, this model comes with a removable cushion, to close your feet up yoga stool, or to use as a headrest in other yoga poses.
This is a premium yoga product, but that means that you should expect to pay for it. This model will set you back £125.00.
- Made from natural materials
- Wood and premium leather
- Fold away
- 330 lbs capacity
- Layered supportive padding
Wakects Yoga Inversion Stool – Best Neck Release Yoga Headstand Stool
If you find having cushioning at the back of your neck uncomfortable or restrictive, then this slightly different model might work for you. Rather than having a u-shape in which to place your head, you are given just two shoulder pads.
Some users might find that this makes them feel less stable, but others will consider this to be more comfortable around the neck. This may be a good option for experienced yogis who can do the position, but want to alleviate the pressure on their neck.
It is made from solid steel, with high quality cushioning around two inches thick. There are non-slip pads to give you maximum stability while getting up into the pose.
The yoga inversion stool comes with a H shaped cushion that allows you to close the stool when not in use.
This is a relatively affordable product currently costing around £60.00.
- Sold steel frame
- Open neck design
- Closes to full cushion
- PU foam padding
Also read: 8 Best Yoga Mats for 2020.
How To Use A Yoga Headstand Stool
Yoga Headstand stools are very simple to use.
- Start by kneeling in front of the chair with your knees near the front feet.
- Place you arms on the flat edges of the chair and hold firmly.
- Put your head in the hole of the pad.
- Walk your feet towards your head as much as your can to get your hips as high up as possible.
- When you are at your limit, slowly bring your knees into your chest to allow your weight to rock up onto your shoulders.
- When you have found your balance, you can then extend your legs upwards.
- While holding the position, try to extend your head towards the floor to stretch the neck.
When you are ready to come down, do the same thing in reverse. First tuck your knees, then lower your feet to the ground. You can then kneel and take your head out of the chair.
If you are nervous, or have a tendency to arch your back, and therefor fall out of your headstand towards your back, then place the stool on front of the wall. This will stop you from overbalancing, and will likely help with any psychological fear!
Features of a Good Yoga Headstand Stool
Yoga headstand stools are relatively new to the market, so there is not that much variation available, and there is not that much difference between the different options on the market. Nevertheless, there are still a few key things that you should be looking for with a yoga headstand bench.
You don’t want to invest in anything cheap, as the yoga inversion stool does need to sturdy enough to hold your full bodyweight, quite possibly for several minutes. The manufacturer should tell you how much weight the yoga headstand bench can hold.
Ideally, you want a feet up yoga stool that lets you do your modified headstand practice with your head as close to the floor as possible, without touching it, in order to best imitate an independent headstand, especially if that is what you are working up to.
If the yoga headstand bench is too small, your head may touch the ground uncomfortably. If it is too big, it will be very difficult for you to get your hips up over your shoulders like you would in a normal headstand.
While most yoga stools are designed at “just the right height” for most people, if you know your proportions are standard, think about shopping around.
Your shoulders will be resting on the padding of the yoga stool, with all of your body weight on top. So padding needs to be sufficient that you never feel like your shoulders are digging into the wood.
Also, you will want to ensure that the padding is covered with something that feels good against your skin.
A good yoga headstand stool should have non-slip feet. The last thing you want is the yoga inversion stool moving beneath you as you move up onto your shoulders. This is only likely to increase both fear of headstands and the likelihood of accidents.
Many people within the yoga community are highly concerned about environmental impact and keen to do what they can to reduce their own. For this reason, there are many yoga stool options on the market made from eco-friendly or even vegan materials.
Naturally, your new yoga stool is going to take up space. For this reason, it can be useful to get a yoga headstand bench that converts into a small stool for sitting. This means that it is still useful when not an active part of your yoga practice. If you would rather store it away, foldable options are also available.
How long should I hold a headstand?
You should hold a headstand for between one and five minutes. This remains true when using a yoga headstand bench, as it is about the blood rushing to your head rather than the pressure on your muscles.
It is advisable to rest in child’s pose for at least one minute after a headstand befoore sitting up in order to let your blood flow normalize.
Can you perform headstands every day?
Yes, you can perform headstands every day, and even multiple times during the day. But do not spend more than five minutes on your head at a time, perhaps repeating this two or three times in succession.
Then have a rest period that allows your body’s blood flow to return to normal before performing the move again. This applies whether doing the move independently, or with the assistance of a yoga headstand bench.
Are headstands or handstands easier?
Headstands are generally learned in yoga before handstands, as there is more of your body in contact with the floor, which makes it easier to find your balance and hold it.
However, once handstands have been mastered, they can be an easier pose, and are certainly easier to fall out of and recover from.
Who should not do headstands?
While headstands offer a lot of health benefits, they are not safe for everyone. Children under the age of seven should not due them as their skull is still soft and it can affect its shape and growth. They may be able to do headstands with a support stool, but it is still not advised.
People who suffer from high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraines, and hypertension are also not advised to do headstands as the blood rushing to their heads can have detrimental effects.
Pregnant women are also not advised to do headstands due to the risk of falling out.
Individuals with shoulder and neck injuries are also not advised to do headstands, but it may be possible with the support of a yoga headstand stool.
If you are a beginner struggling with headstands, or you have had to pause your headstand practice due to neck of shoulder injuries, then a headstand stool could be the answer that you are looking for.
It can provide new yogis with extra balance when getting up into the pose, so that you can work on the core strength and balance needed to put weight on your head. For more experienced yogis, it takes the weight off the neck and shoulders, and so can make the practice accessible even when you are struggling with injury.
The main things to look for when choosing a yoga inversion stool is that it is stable enough to hold your weight, won’t slip around, and has sufficient padding that your shoulders feel comfortable, even when you have all your weight balanced on them.
We have chosen five of the best yoga headstand bench options on the market for you and explained how to use them. Hopefully, this gives you everything you need to decide whether this might be the right tool to help you deepen your yoga practice.
Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API