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7 Head Hollowback Variations For The Advanced Headstander

All poses are demonstrated by Sapphire Ng, guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar.

  • Straight Legged Backbend Head Hollowback
  • Straight Legged Backbend Head Hollowback 2

1. Straight Legged Backbend Head Hollowback


Prerequisite skills

Headstand, Wheel Pose, Closed Straight Legged Wheel Pose, Straight Head Hollowback

How to get into the pose

Form a tripod between the head and the hands, placing the hands behind the head with the arms outstretched

Engage the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders, and lift one foot off the ground

Finding the balance, gently tap the remaining foot off the ground

Tuck both legs as close as possible towards the chest

Slowly extend and straighten both legs towards the sky

Arch the back as much as possible into a backbend

Notes

Head Hollowbacks require tremendous shoulder flexibility and strength. The key and challenge would be to build strength towards the end range of shoulder flexibility. The more body weight is transferred forwards in a greater backbend, the more stress would be placed upon the shoulders

It is important to strengthen neck muscles to ensure safe execution of the pose and to ensure the neck muscles are able to sustain the weight of the body

Single Stag Backbend Head Hollowback

2. Single Stag Backbend Head Hollowback


Prerequisite skills

Headstand, Wheel Pose, Single Stag Wheel Pose, Front Splits Head Hollowback

How to get into the pose

Form a tripod between the head and the hands, placing the hands behind the head with the arms outstretched

Engage the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders, and lift one foot off the ground

Finding the balance, gently tap the remaining foot off the ground

Tuck both legs as close as possible towards the chest

Stagger the legs into double stag, one leg in front of the body, the other leg behind the body

Straighten the back leg and place the foot of the front leg adjacent to the back leg

Arch the back as much as possible into a backbend

Notes

Since it is simpler to arch into a deeper backbend with one straight leg instead of two straight legs, be sure to make very controlled movements and to build up shoulder strength over the range of motion over time to be able to support safe body weight transfer

It is of the utmost importance to fully warm up the back before attempting this backbend. Make sure to activate and to wake up the abs muscles and the upper and lower back muscles

Double Stag Backbend Head Hollowback

3. Double Stag Backbend Head Hollowback


Prerequisite skills

Headstand, Wheel Pose, Narrow Wheel Pose, Forearm Wheel Pose, Single Stag Forearm Wheel Pose, Double Stag Head Hollowback

How to get into the pose

Form a tripod between the head and the hands, placing the hands behind the head with the arms outstretched

Engage the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders, and lift one foot off the ground

Finding the balance, gently tap the remaining foot off the ground

Tuck both legs as close as possible towards the chest

Stagger the legs into double stag, one leg in front of the body, the other leg behind the body, and gently prop the foot of the front leg on the knee of the back leg

Arch the back as much as possible into a backbend

Notes

Always make sure the neck is fully warmed up before attempting any of the poses

Always incorporate active flexibility warm up for the back

Wide Straight Legged Backbend Head Hollowback

4. Wide Straight Legged Backbend Head Hollowback


Prerequisite skills

Headstand, Wheel Pose, Wide Straight Legged Wheel Pose, Straight Head Hollowback

How to get into the pose

Form a tripod between the head and the hands, placing the hands behind the head with the arms outstretched

Engage the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders, and lift one foot off the ground

Finding the balance, gently tap the remaining foot off the ground

Tuck both legs as close as possible towards the chest

Slowly extend and straighten both legs towards the sky

Widen the legs into a V shape

Arch the back as much as possible into a backbend

Notes

With the legs wide apart instead of together, it will be easier to balance and to arch the back and lower the legs

Closed Scorpion Backbend Head Hollowback

5. Closed Scorpion Backbend Head Hollowback


Prerequisite skills

Headstand, Wheel Pose, Forearm Wheel Pose, Double Stag Head Hollowback, Closed Bent Legged Cobra Pose, Bow Pose

How to get into the pose

Form a tripod between the head and the hands, placing the hands behind the head with the arms outstretched

Engage the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders, and lift one foot off the ground

Finding the balance, gently tap the remaining foot off the ground

Tuck both legs as close as possible towards the chest

Stagger the legs into double stag, one leg in front of the body, the other leg behind the body

Bring the front leg to join the back leg, keeping the legs bent and close together

Arch the back as much as possible into the closed scorpion pose

Notes

It is normal if you’re unable to arch the back alot in this position

This pose demands tremendous back flexibility, particularly because the legs are close together

Straight Pencil Head Hollowback

6. Straight Pencil Head Hollowback


Prerequisite skills

Headstand, Straight Pencil Headstand

How to get into the pose

Form a tripod between the head and the hands, placing the hands behind the head with the arms outstretched

Engage the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders, and lift one foot off the ground

Finding the balance, gently tap the remaining foot off the ground

Tuck both legs as close as possible towards the chest

Slowly extend and straighten both legs towards the sky

Notes

This is a neutral position that should be practiced often

Nailing this position helps to build both balance and strength

Tucked Head Hollowback

7. Tucked Head Hollowback


Prerequisite skills

Headstand

How to get into the pose

Form a tripod between the head and the hands, placing the hands behind the head with the arms outstretched

Engage the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders, and lift one foot off the ground

Finding the balance, gently tap the remaining foot off the ground

Tuck both legs as close as possible towards the chest

Notes

This is one of the most basic and simplest poses to do for the Head Hollowback. Master this before moving onto other variations


Sapphire Ng

Sapphire Ng is a guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar, an original and distinctive performance act which unites acrobatics and contortion with guitar playing.

She is also a 2-time scholarship winner, having graduated with a second class honours with upper division for her Bachelor of Laws, Law LLB at Queen Mary University of London in the UK, and also with a Summa Cum Laude for her Bachelor of Music in Music Business and Management degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA.

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