I am by no means a handstand master yet, but this is a progress post! I started a rigorous yoga routine a little over a year ago. By rigorous I mean I practice at least 4-5 times a week. I’m at the point in my yoga practice where I want to pursue knowledge of the yamas and philosophy of yoga. I also want to advance my physical practice by mastering inversions (mainly handstands) and backbends.
Here are some tricks I’ve found along the way to get that solid Adho Mukha Vrksasana aka the HANDSTAND:
1. Inversions require A STRONG AND TIGHT CORE! A tight and controlled core will allow for free flowing movement of your legs to get into different handstand variations.
2. Make sure that your hands are FLAT on the mat/floor with pointer fingers pointing at 12 o’clock/North. make sure palms are spread wide. A lot of people use grippy fingers (knuckles bent) to control their handstand, but I’ve slowly learned for an effortless light handstand balance, you want those flat palms on the ground.
3. Place your hands on the ground shoulder distance or wider. Think edge of your yoga mat. Lock your elbows and shoulders into the sockets to create a firm base for your handstands. Keep your arms straight sand strong
4. Keep your gaze between your hands! Set your drishti and keep it there. Any wavering and you will fall (no joke).
5. As your palms are firm on the ground move into a short downward dog (about 30% less than your regular dogs). Start by lifting one leg into the air for five breaths. Try it on the other side. Now to have the most control of your core in handstand, use your grounded leg and kick into handstand with your grounded leg bent and tucked into your core. Try it a few times and float when you can. Never let go of your core.
6. When you feel comfortable enough, begin to SLOWLY, with control, lift your bent leg to join the straight one. Point your toes, tighten your quads and SMILE! Ta da! Now you should be in a handstand. If you feel pressure in your lower back, that means your putting too much pressure unnecessarily on your back and most likely look like a banana (aka the dreaded banana back). To avoid this, tuck your lower ribs in and this will re-engage your core and allow your handstand to be straight and back to be stress free.
****Use the wall until you can hold a handstand for 15 seconds then slowly move from it and learn how to go into wheel from handstand. This will make you feel much safer getting into and out of handstands. It’ll also give you an opportunity to work on your backbends!****
Good luck on your journey and thanks for stopping by! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.