Ah, the elusive handstand. Handstands are challenging and, yes, a little bit scary. Acing it challenges both your mind and your body as it calls for core strength, shoulder mobility, and proper alignment. But, doing it builds confidence in return. Handstands are called the unicorn of yoga postures. It is a yoga asana we often stare at in wonder and disbelief. It is the pose that floods our social media feeds. And it is a yoga pose that is never too late to learn. How to handstand yoga, you ask? Whether you are a longtime yogi or a total newbie, here’s an easy guide for proper handstand progression.
Steps on How to Handstand Yoga
This is an excellent way to get your body used to the feeling of being upside down. To get into this practice,
Begin in a downward dog post with your heels near the wall.
Slowly but surely, walk up the wall one foot at a time until your body is at a 90-degree angle.
You will start to feel the sensation of being upside down. Think of growing a strong foundation from the ground up. The wrists, arms, and shoulders may feel more work here, but focus and breathe.
This should be an excellent exercise to get you upside down for the first time. Once you are used to shifting your center of gravity, doing handstand won’t be as hard.
L-Shape Handstand; Toes at the Wall
This practice is almost the same as the previous one, but with just a twist. Instead of putting your feet flat on the wall, come up onto your toes. This shifts your weight slightly forward and puts more work into your wrists and shoulders.
If you feel comfortable in this practice, you can lift one leg at a time. Imagine your top toe touching up the sky. This will help you activate and lengthen your leg, which will eventually help you stay in a handstand pose.
Lifted Leg Variation
After the body adjusts to the L shaped handstand, move into a lifted leg variation.
Tips & Tricks:
- From the L shape position, lift one leg directly up.
- Stack your body here too – heel over hips, hips over shoulders, shoulder over wrists.
- Engage your lifted leg and flex through your foot.
- If you are ready, slowly and gently push away from the wall and feel the sensation of balancing.
You can switch sides and do it all over again!
Handstand on the Wall
The most challenging obstacle when doing how to handstand yoga is probably the fear of falling. By practicing the handstand against a wall, you gradually take that mental fear away and enable you to focus more on the physical part of the pose. This exercise also helps you to practice kicking up into a handstand.
- Sink your palms on the floor in front of the wall.
- Come into a downward-facing dog pose or Adho Mukha Shvanasana on your toes.
- Lift one leg up to the sky and kick up with the other.
- Remember, you have a wall to catch you, so don’t be scared to use some power in your kick-ups.
Here are some yoga accessories to help you ace your first yoga handstand:
Handstand with Knee Tucked
Whoa, you’re almost there! Take a deep breath. You’ve got this, yogis!
Before you go power kicking up into that awesome handstand of yours, please do plan an exit strategy. You can cartwheel out to one side or, in the worst case, fall over into a wheel pose. If this happens, do not panic.
Tips & Tricks:
- Plant your hands shoulder-width apart or wider & spread those fingers wide.
- Pick a spot on the ground about 6 inches in front of your face. Lock your eyes with your chosen spot and never lose sight of it!
- Come into a standing split with your lifted leg vigorously active – don’t let it soften, not even for a moment.
- With your foot that is on the ground, take a slight bend in the knee, then hop up. You can start with small hops and slowly add more momentum to them.
- When you hop – tuck one knee in towards your chest. This tucking action will help you center and align your body, which makes it easier to balance.
Once all of these have been practiced over and over again, then it is time for you to go for it. A straight up and down, balance in the air like you don’t care, handstand.
Rest in Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The intensity of a headstand requires a counterpose to release tension. After coming down from doing any variation of handstand, rest into balasana or child’s pose.
Place your toes together with knees apart. Reach your arms forward and release. This should give your shoulders a sweet relief and allows your blood flow to go back to normal. Know more about yoga poses.
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When the elements of curiosity on how to handstand yoga, alignment, flexibility, strength, and comfort come together, it’s reasonable to presume that you are now ready to venture into the world of handstands.
Practicing handstands is a challenging and demanding job. And, like Rome, a handstand cannot be built in a day. It may take months or even years to perfect it. The key to this is to develop your confidence and body awareness, learn from each mistake, trust the process, and enjoy the journey.
Take your time developing your confidence, stamina, and overall body awareness. Find personal training classes if you must. And, finally, enjoy the process.