Handstand is a pretty common goal pose for many people who practice yoga. While it might look easy to achieve, anyone who's tried can say that it takes a lot of work and a lot of practice.
But don't worry! Here are some of the benefits you can expect from practicing Handstands, as well as a how-to to help make it easier.
Benefits of Handstand
More than just a cool trick, the benefits of Handstands are numerous.
Handstands are great for building core strength. They strengthen the shoulders, improve balance, and raise muscular-skeletal intelligence. Handstands are energizing and said to help with mild depression. In addition, they increase vitality and can give a little boost to the immune system.
That being said, Handstands aren’t for everyone. Those with shoulder injuries, neck pain, high blood pressure, or glaucoma should not practice Handstands.
Before even attempting the pose, make sure you are good and warm. Try burpees, jumping jacks, Sun Salutations, Downward Dogs, or Planking to get you there.
The best way to start Handstand is from Downward Dog. Spread the fingers super wide. Make sure the middle and index fingers are pointing straight out in front of you. Then draw the shoulders down and away from the ears. Think hollow armpits, or move the shoulder blades away from each other.
Lengthen the neck and look just in front of the hands. Then step one foot underneath the belly button. Rock the shoulders over the wrists and keep them there. Lift the back leg up to the sky as high as you can. Keep that leg strong and solid. The back leg isn’t a kicker, but rather a puller. You want to use the strength of your lower abdominals, top leg, and arms to lift you into a Handstand, rather than jumping off the ground.
Take a big breath in. On your exhale, push into your hands, lift the top leg even higher, and then gently try to peel the bottom foot off the ground by taking a tiny hop. At first it might feel like you’re not going anywhere. But keep trying. Tiny little hops. Maybe you’ll even catch some hangtime.
Once it gets easier to peel the bottom foot off the ground, you’ll begin to feel the hip move over the shoulders. This is the scary part for many people. Don’t panic, because this is the almost-there part! Keep trying.
As you take your tiny hops, start to bend the bottom leg and kick the heel toward the bum, keeping the top leg straight and lifting ever upward.
Handstands come with a ton of practice. So give it a try, and then keep trying. Practicing Handstands for even 5-minutes a day is a great way to feel playful and get stronger. One day you’ll nail it!
Do you have any Handstand practice tips? Share them with the community in the comments below!