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Strike a Yoga Pose: Handstand Trick

Spring weather always reminds of how much I love doing handstands in the grass. You can really dig your fingertips into the earth to get some grip, and if you lose your balance - so what? You have a nice cushion of grass to fall on.

In the Yoga Stretch and Tell Group, one of our readers, snowdaytoday had a question about how to stay up and balanced in handstand.

Doing handstand in the middle of space, with no help can be really scary. I'm a firm believer in using the wall to lean on, but you want to do it in such a way that you can work on your balance at the same time. You don't want to rely on the wall completely for support because then you'll never achieve the strength and balance to stay up on your own.

Here's something you can practice against a wall. Want to see? Then

Stand facing a stable, bare wall (you don't want to kick up and knock over a painting or go through a door). Place your hands flat on the floor, with your fingertips about 5-7 inches away from the wall.

Spread your fingers wide and put pressure into your fingertips, as if you were gripping the floor (kind of like your toes do when you're walking). This will take pressure off your wrists and hopefully prevent pain, which many people complain about when first learning to do handstands.

Leave your hands planted and walk your legs forward into a short Downward Facing Dog, with both feet together and about a foot closer to your hands than they usually are.

Lift your left leg into the air. This is called 3-Legged Dog pose.

Bend your right knee and press off the ball of your foot in order to kick up and plant both heels on the wall.

Now place the crown (top) of your head against the wall so you are gazing between your palms.

You want your shoulders directly above your hands, so you might need to come down and adjust your hand position.

Now work on bringing one foot off the wall and then the other until you're balancing on your hands with the crown of your head still pressing against the wall (this will help you to stay balanced).

Fit's Tips: Practicing this position is an awesome prep to doing it on your own. Hang out in this pose for a minute or more and you'll build the muscles in your shoulders, forearms, upper arms, upper back, and core that are necessary for staying balanced.

beleza beleza 10 years
Thanks so much for this! But I still can't do a handstand even if my life depended on it! lol. I don't have very good upper body strength. :/
PrissyLilBadAss PrissyLilBadAss 10 years
If you're having troulbe kicking up at the right strength without the wall, remember to lock your core and raising and locking your shoulders before kicking up. Its easier to balance when your core is tight. Think about trying to balance a piece of cooked spaghetti in your palm, and then think about trying to balance a piece of uncooked spaghetti! Also, spread you hands and don't put them flat. If you bend your fingers slightly, you can counter balance a hard kick by pushing your weight back again with your fingertips.
peachygirl peachygirl 10 years
Thank you for the breakdown - that is really helpful!
thatgirljj thatgirljj 10 years
I can actually balance away from the wall, but only *at* the wall. I have trouble with kicking up too hard... I need the wall (or a partner) to stop my feet from going WAY over my head and tumbling backwards. :-/ One of these days I'll get it.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
I love moving from handstand into bridge or wheel pose too akrsouth! And nothing beats child's pose to release your lower back. Thanks for the tip.
akrsouth akrsouth 10 years
It is a good idea to follow this with a child's or cat pose to ease the back. I often like to move from plow to handstand to to a bridge then to child's. The bridge pose is something i use to ease back pain, very effective when camping and having trouble relaxing your muscles on a sleeping pad.
brazilnut brazilnut 10 years
My eight year old can do this, I on the other hand cannot.
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