So you’ve seen yet another amazing instagram post of someone in a handstand and you’ve decided you want to take the plunge. You finally want to see what life is like upside-down. Where do you even start? You’ve come to the right place. I’ve been training my handbalancing professionally for over 6 years now and some things just never change no matter where you are in the process. Here are 5 tips to get you started on your handstand journey.
1. Have patience.
Mastering your handstand will be a slow process. So slow, you might not even realize the progress you’re making. Don’t give up! Find enjoyment in the process and notice the little things that improve. Fall down and get back up again until one day you are the one deciding when you want to come down from your handstand.
2. Build up your strength.
Holding a handstand is a full body workout and requires many small muscle groups to engage that you might never have accessed before. Having a strong core will make stabilizing your handstand much easier. Building up wrist and finger strength will not only help you catch more airtime, but will also prevent any wrist tenderness that follows. Chaturangas are a great way to strengthen and prepare the wrists and shoulders. When in doubt, nothing beats good old-fashioned push-ups and sit ups!
3. Know your alignment.
Handstands are all about finding the float. When teaching handstands, the fist thing I always look for is hand placement. The most common adjustment I give is to bring the hands a little closer together so that they are truly underneath your shoulders. This can make a worlds difference! As you may have heard before, a handstand is simply tadasana on your hands. You’ll notice as you stand, your bones are stacked in a way to keep you upright effortlessly. The same goes for when you’re upside-down!
4. Learn how to fall.
For every one handstand that is successful, there will be one hundred that you have fallen out of! It is part of the practice to fall, but the fear associated with falling may be what is holding you back from either reaching your balance point, or even attempting a handstand at all. A huge concern I hear is the fear of falling forwards and landing on the back. When you feel your handstand starting to go down, open up one leg to the side and allow your body to somewhat cartwheel out. This not only gives you all the control, but also allows you fall those one hundred times with grace.
5. Learn how to laugh at yourself!
A solid handstand demonstrates strength and hard work, but what’s the point if you didn’t have fun along the way! Smile when you hit your first balance and then don’t find it again for two more weeks. I am a firm believer that handstands are good for the soul. In fact, I can’t recall one time I trained my handbalancing and didn’t leave my practice feeling like I could conquer the world. Whether it takes one month or one year to reach your goal, be proud that you believe in yourself enough to even try. Honor your body, honor your practice, and honor your handstand.
-Laura Pawel- Hot 8 Yoga Sherman Oaks Barre Instructor!