How Do I Control My Core In Headstand?

October 5, 2021

Transcript of: How do I control my core in headstand?

Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. If you’ve got a question that you’d like to submit, go to Okay, this month’s question comes from Serafima and it’s about how to control your core in headstand.

The Question:

I’ve been practicing Ashtanga for almost two years (though not always consistently). [DK: It’s okay, I’m not the Ashtanga police!] I feel that my body has developed strength it didn’t have before, especially in my upper body and shoulders. After all this time I feel that my core is still weak [DK: Really? I bet somebody told you that], especially when it comes to applying core to control movements. For example, in headstand, I feel that my foundation is strong and solid, but I don’t seem to be able to hold or control my pelvis, causing me to topple over. I don’t know if it’s because my core is too weak in headstand, or because I can’t find the connection. What I want to ask you is when and how in the primary series should I be integrating and learning that core control outside the headstand asana?

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The Answer:

I’ll answer that last question, first. Every time you try to lift up, you’re engaging the core in general. Of course, there is a difference between how you might engage it in headstand — going back to the first part of your question — and how you lift up. But all of that is adding to it. The connection part is harder and that happens up here.

Where are you initiating movement from? Don’t assume that your core is weak. You might not have created the connection to generate movement from it yet, though. And that’s going to be a mental intention. But, going back to your headstand for a moment — and I’m not seeing it — I would have to assume every other thing about your headstand is correct. You’re wobbly. You topple over. That says to me that, actually, your foundation is not correct. Yes, I said that. That’s my guess. I’m not seeing it, so I can’t say for sure.

What I would do is try different techniques of doing headstand and see if any of them work to test whether or not it really is your core in headstand. Like, if you try a tripod headstand, can you do it? Because, in a tripod headstand, you have your hands out here, relative to your head. A lot of people do top-of-the-head type of headstand. I’m more front-of-top-of-the-head type of headstand, where the head lifts up. So, it could be your forearm length. There could be proportional things that require you to change it, like neck length. So don’t assume all of this based only on your headstand.

It might be a headstand problem. But if it’s not, and it is a core thing, remember it comes back to your intention to create movement. I do a workshop called Three Anatomical Points To An Effortless Practice. One of those points is the core of the core (the psoas) and the workshop shows you how to create movement from that place. And you should be doing that from your very first sun salutation. That is, you should be generating movement from your center of gravity, essentially. Okay? That’s all going to be mental intention, as I said before.

Alright? Anybody else, if you’ve got a question, go to and we’ll get the question answered as soon as possible.

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