Why Do My Elbows Come Up In Headstand?

December 5, 2023

Transcript of: Why do my elbows come up in headstand

Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. If you’ve got a question that you want me to answer, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion and I’ll do that. You can always hit the subscribe button and then you’ll get an email when I put another one out. Alright, this month’s question comes from Shruti and it’s about why your elbows come up in headstand.

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The Question:

“While trying to headstand, I’m properly maintaining the correct posture, [but] still my elbows are going up. Due to which, [my] weight is coming on [my] head. No matter what I do my elbows are always going up as I lean towards the wall to do sirsasana. Kindly guide me and let me know where I’m [making a] mistake.”

The Answer:

It’s always hard to answer these questions when I’m not seeing the pose. The fact that you’re using the wall means that you are probably, let’s say, looking for it with your feet. That means you’re taking your body weight that way. I don’t how far away from the wall you’re setting up. I would assume you’re close. If you can get closer, then get closer. That might be one solution to the issue that your elbows come up in headstand.

Consider proportions

Proportions make a difference. In this case, the proportions are the length of the humerus relative to the forearm. Why is that important? Because when you put your head in, how you put your hands also makes a difference in whether your elbows are further away from your head or closer to your head. Right? If I grasp my hands this way and my head is in here, that’s much closer to my elbows. If I open my hands up and put the top of my head there, then my head and my elbows are further away from each other. So, sometimes that positioning helps to make a longer base. Okay?

The other positioning or proportions thing is, it depends on how long your head and neck are, relative to your humerus length. That can impact how comfortable your head is as it goes towards the floor and how it sits in between that triangle that we’re creating. That’s something else to keep in mind to address the issue that your elbows come up in headstand.

Engage serratus anterior

And then, the most important part, which is the part that’s missing and definitely should be created in headstand, is activating serratus anterior. And, when your serratus is weak, it is hard for you to apply the pressure to the floor with the elbow end of your forearm. This action is upward rotation of the scapula. Okay? The humerus only flexes to 90 degrees. All of this is shoulder girdle movement or scapular movement. There are many articles on the website about serratus anterior. There is definitely an article about setting up your headstand on the website as well. If I can I’ll put a link to that in the description—if I remember. Alright?

So there are a few things to check regarding why our elbows might come up in headstand. Or, the other thing is, don’t go all the way up with your feet. You might just go to a sort of crouch position, upside down. Bring your knees in and just work with that to find where that balance is between weight on the elbows, weight on the hands, and pushing the earth away.

Alright, I hope that helps Shruti. Anybody else, if you have a question, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion and I’ll answer your question. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button.

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