Handstands. Headstands. The Upside Down. Much like Stranger Things, handstands are scary for a lot of people. Mostly it’s the balancing, some of it’s being upside down, but the main worry for most is the falling.
In this post, I’ll detail some beginner handstand drills that you can try at home. I’ll also detail a few safe ways to fall out of handstands.
DRILL 1: Start in tabletop. Spread your fingers wide on your mat and press into the triad parts of your hands (thumb mounds, pointer finger mounds, middle finger mounds). Lean forwards and backward, and work on finding balance on your hands.
DRILL 2: Once you’re feeling confident in tabletop, start pushing into your hands with softened elbows and squeezed muscles. Find a 3-legged-downdog, and push into the hand triads. Kick off your mat and try to find some air time while keeping your core fully activated. Set your drishti between your thumbs, breathe in, and jump.
DRILL 3: Put your legs on the side of your couch, bed or chair and hands on the floor. Widen your fingertips, press into the hand triads, soften the elbows, and squeeze the arm muscles. Engage your core and lift the hips over the shoulders. Hold there, inhaling and exhaling for 3-5 breaths.
DRILL 4: On the side of the couch, with the hips over the shoulders, lift one leg to the ceiling while keeping the other leg on the couch. Keep the lifted leg engaged. Hold for 3-5 breaths and then switch legs.
If you ever find yourself falling forward, use these tips to ensure a safe fall.
1. Twist out. Twist your hips over and step out with one leg, while keeping both hands on the ground. This will keep your head, shoulders, knees and toes safe!
2. Roll out. If you don’t have time to twist, then you can bend your arms, tuck your chin to your chest and roll to your thoracic spine.
The Upside Down
The Upside Down is a place for you to push yourself to your edge and expand your yoga practice. Give yourself the space to learn balance and strength. This is a practice in giving yourself grace just as much as it is a practice of learning to be upside down.