by Jenn Dawson: Once you have accomplished your headstand and your forearm stand, you are ready to move into a handstand…
Executing a handstand is not an easy task and should not be expected to be achieved the first time you try. There are a few steps to help you get ready to move into a handstand that should be done first. These will help you prepare the muscles and body for what is to come. Let’s learn how to do a handstand.
Come onto all fours with your shoulders over your wrists. Spread your fingers on the floor. Curl the toes under while lifting the knees off of the floor, all the while engaging your core. By engaging your core, you will be providing yourself with support. Do this about 10 times through, or more if it is difficult for you to lift your knees.
Move into downward dog. Instead of sinking into your shoulders, bring your weight into your hands. Start walking your feet forward while keeping your hands flat as long as you can and walk your feet back to downward dog. This helps you practice pushing down through the hand.
Move your downward dog to a wall, pressing your heels into the wall. Once comfortable, walk your legs onto the wall, one at a time to a form a 90 degree angle with your body. Push your weight through your hands into the floor, holding your center strong and lifted.
Now back at your mat, take a standing split with one leg up into the air and one leg down, both hands pushing into the floor. Bend your bottom knee to get momentum to push into a little hop onto your hands. Do not think of using your top leg for any momentum, as it all should come from the bend of your standing leg. Continue with little repetitive hops. Once you feel confident that you are getting up enough to get your pelvis over your wrists, push your bottom leg up to meet your top leg. Keep pushing down into the floor for stability and keep your head looking at or right in front of your hands.
Practicing these exercises will help provide strength to push down enough into your hands to get your body off of the ground.
Working on building strength to properly execute your handstand is very important. Here are other exercises and asanas (poses) to help get your body strong and handstand-ready:
Upper-body strength is key to accomplishing a handstand, and doing push-ups will target the muscles in your arms, shoulders, upper back, and your core – all muscles important in a handstand.
These are beneficial for preparing you for a handstand because they work your upper body while you are getting used to being upside down.
A key asana to get you ready for the advanced inversion of a handstand, headstands will build your strength and your balance.
After you feel confident in your headstand, the forearm stand is the next step toward handstand.
This asana builds your upper-body strength, balance, and core strength which are all needed to achieve the handstand. This is a great asana to prepare your hands and wrists for holding up your body weight.
Handstand Against a Wall
Facing a wall, place your hands a few inches away from the wall and kick your legs up to rest on the wall. To achieve the proper alignment for a handstand, push the top of your head into the wall and push your legs away from the wall so they are over your body. Balance as long as you can. This builds your core and upper-body strength as well as your balance and proper alignment.