Working Your Way Up To A Handstand

A lot of yoga content online focuses on poses that look really impressive–and really intimidating. Handstands are certainly one of these culprits, but they aren’t just for looks! Handstands can add incredible value to your practice. But where do you start?

Balance

Before you start trying to throw yourself up into a handstand, you need to ensure that you are regularly working on balance in more simple poses. Taking the time in these poses and really breathing into the moment is essential. Side planks are an excellent pose for practicing balance, as well as strengthening small muscles in your core, shoulders, and arms that are essential for balance in a handstand.

Strength 

At the end of the day, you’re not going to get yourself into a handstand if you don’t have the upper body and core strength to get you there. Outside of yoga, weighted core and upper body exercises will work well to prepare you for a handstand. Within your yoga practice, you should incorporate more planks, for extended periods of time; you use many of the same muscles and it is good to practice using them at the same time. 

Working Your Way Up

It would be unsafe to immediately throw yourself into a handstand without preparation, so here are some steps you can take to get into a handstand safely. For all of the following steps, make sure your core is engaged.

  • Start with your hands planted on the floor, at legs’ distance from the wall. Make sure there is nothing hanging on the wall and there is nothing around that you could fall and injure yourself on. Slowly walk your feet up the wall, so that they eventually end up level with your hips. 
  • From here, you’ll want to lift one leg up, putting more weight on your arms and shoulders. Try to get your one leg fully vertical and in line with the rest of your body. 
  • Next, lift your second foot off the wall slowly, so that both legs will be in the air. Bent legs are totally okay at this point. Continue to use the wall for balance and touch your feet back against it when you need to. 
  • When you feel ready, straighten your legs and bring them together, pulling them up with your core. Return to the beginning of this drill as much as you need to. 

 

The most important thing to remember when you’re working towards a handstand is that safety should be your priority. To keep your body nimble and stable, it is vital that you do intensive stretching so you don’t injure your muscles. 

Good luck with those handstands, and let me know how this drill works for you!



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