The Year of the Handstand

For a year or so now, I have been trying to work my way up to a yoga handstand- not to be confused with a gymnastics handstand.

What’s the difference? 

A gymnastic handstand starts in an upright position, using momentum as you put your hands to the ground and kick up. This is something that is a little easier (at least for me).

A yoga handstand uses significantly less momentum (unless your still learning) and more core strength. You start in down dog, and then either kick one leg up/ flex your abs to bring your legs up. Then you hold here or start doing crazy things with your legs.

This has been a challenge for me, but I will be able to do this by the end of 2017. I set aside 5 minutes every day to practice and I see small results, but non the less it is improvement!

There is a natural progression that can be used to work your way up to handstand. Headstand is easiest, then forearm stand, and then finally handstand. This is because the base of each posture starts from a larger area, to a smaller one.

Things that I have also found helpful in my journey is back/shoulder/arm exercises as well as making sure these areas aren’t too tight. Push ups, down dog push ups and tricep pushups have been very useful. I have a lot of neck tightness that also seems to get in the way. The whole body needs to be one beautiful line- from your head to your toes.

If you have never inverted before (fancy way of saying “gone upside down”). Headstand is where you should start. Some people just really really really don’t like being upside down for one reason or another- and that is always okay. For those of you who do like it, here is how you start:

Tripod Pose

Tripod Pose is a great introduction. It helps your head feel the entire weight of your body and shows that a straight body will keep you upright.

To start, find a solid surface with no lumps or bumps.

  1. Place your head on the ground and your hands, palms to the floor, inline with your armpits
  2. Flex your abs as you work towards putting your right knee on your right elbow and then your left knee on your left elbow. Note: the second side you do will want to come up as soon as you have your first elbow to knee, this is where balance may be lost.
  3. Once achieved, hold your body here and work on strengthening and straitening.

Once this pose feels solid, begin to work on pressing the legs up slowly while using your abs to keep everything as still as you can.

I follow a lot of inspirational yogis on instagram, and it’s always nice to see that even they need to work on technique and postures.


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