Oh handstand, you and I have a fickle relationship. Some days we get along, some days we don’t. I’m learning to accept it as it comes, and not try to force you to be here when you don’t want to be.
If handstand is nowhere in sight for you, please feel free to modify with inversion of choice: headstand, forearm stand variation, downward facing dog, child’s pose – do what feels good for you.
You can also practice this pose standing upright – hold a block above your head for one minute, gazing up between the thumbs. You’ll get a lot of the work of handstand without even turning upside down!
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start working towards handstand, find yourself a wall unless you know that you’re confident in falling out of this pose.
- Start in downward facing dog. Make sure your hands are shoulder distance apart, fingers spread and gripping into index finger and thumb. You can even create a little space beneath the palms and grip more with the fingertips – when you’re inverted, this will help you balance.
- Walk towards your face until hips are over the shoulders. Raise one leg up towards the sky behind you (like standing splits.)
- Exhale all the air out. Inhale, hop with the standing leg, keeping both legs straight and engaged. Try to think about making an L shape with the legs at first instead of bringing them both up to the sky.
- If you can hold the L shape comfortably, start to raise the bottom leg to meet the top.
- If you’re using the wall for support, avoid “banana back” by drawing your front ribs towards the hip bones and engaging the belly.
- Engage the pelvic floor muscles and pull navel to spine to help keep core engaged. Push the floor away from you, so shoulders and ears are close together.
- When ready to come down, stay lifted in the shoulders and carefully lower down one leg at a time.
- Use standing forward bend as a counter pose.