Tripod headstand is a badass yoga pose! Balancing on your head, with the hands behind you in support, feels pretty cool. Not gonna lie. It can be intimidating, though. Here are a few tips to help you lift off into Sirsasana II.
The trick is to bend the elbows back, just like chaturunga. This requires the hands to be far behind you, elbows stacking over wrists. You’re creating a shelf with the arms and this shelf will provide you with enough stability to lift the feet off the ground and into the pose. Tripod headstand is aptly named: the palms of the hands and crown of the head are your base.
Press the palms strongly into the mat, fingers spread wide. Make sure your elbows are above the wrists. Think chaturunga with the arms. Place the crown of the head onto the mat. See if you can slowly lift the feet off the ground. Play here, with the feet rising. Breathe as the feet lift up, hips stacking over shoulders, legs reaching high overhead. I like to come into the pose from a Wide-legged Forward Bend, pulling the belly in as I fold. You can also walk the toes in, placing the knees on the arms, as Kathryn Budig demonstrates here.
Practice against a wall, using a blanket underneath the head. This extra bit of cushioning will get you used to balancing on the crown of your head. It can feel uncomfortable at first, so take your time. This pose takes practice, patience and strength. Go for it! It’s super fun when you get there.