Get Upside Down: A Handstand Workshop
Practice makes proficiency. Move mindfully, skillfully, don’t rush. Move your body in a way that supports the desired peak pose (handstand). It takes more than a hop and a prayer. Hands have to become more like the feet to manage the weight of the body while balancing.
Regress to Progress
Move the body in ways that work the same muscles you need for handstand just in a smaller more manageable way. Give the mind/body time to adapt to your request. All your work counts. Reasonable expectations.
· Teacup drills: figure eights with block on hand.
· Mountain pose with arms overhead. Block in each palm. Engage core. Get rid of banana shape in low back.
· Get low: Squat down on the ground and hop around. It’s simple and so effective at building strength/proficiency for balancing on your hands. Play is important!
We worked several different ways to create more skilled handstand practice:
· From a short dog pose lift one leg behind you. Lift/lower the heel of the leg you’re standing on. Feel the transition of weight from lower body to upper body (arms).
· A few 1000’ hop and swings with long straight legs.
· Kick up to touch/tap legs at the top and come down.
· Hop/swing with one leg bent (heel towards butt).
· Learn to fall! Acknowledge the fear and be prepared to bail by picking one hand up. Round off or cartwheel out of it.
· Short dog pose or dolphin pose – walk feet in till shoulders stack over hands.
· Wall work: to build stamina and confidence (try just the head). Always use a strong, stable wall. Not mirrors or glass.
· Partnering: to find your true alignment and some independence in the pose. Take it to the middle of the room sometimes.
Resources for reference
If you’re a yoga nerd like me follow my FB and IG pages for all things yoga life/alignment related. I post videos of the mindful movement I do to refine arm balances. Here, here and here are video links geared towards handstand work.
Anatomy of a handstand:
Whole body movement
Hands – fingertips grab the mat. “Spidey hands”
Arms – especially shoulders (deltoids) and triceps must be strong.
Core – control your center.
Legs – especially inner thighs. Keep legs long and reaching.
Mini sequence to prepare:
Mountain Pose (it’s handstand right side up). No banana shape!
Downward Facing Dog (reach through arms/shoulder strength)
Jumping forward to a forward fold (a moment to hop/engage hands)
Chair Pose (core connector/arms reach)
Boat Pose/Crow Pose/Reclined Crow/Reclined Handstand Pose
Triangle Pose (reach through legs)
Half Moon Pose (balancing on the feet helps prepare the mind for balancing on the hands). Same vein.
Hero’s Pose with shoulder stretches overhead (cow-face/eagle).
Puppy Pose (shoulder/chest stretch
Dolphin Pose (shoulder/core/legs)
Childs Pose (rest/regroup)
For all the ways we can choose to spend our time, THANK YOU for getting upside down with me. Namaste!