I Want To Handstand.
Handstands. I’m fascinated by them. Handstands are on my bucket list, together with learning Italian and learning to Tango. Whether or not I ever learn to do one, I practice every day.
A handstand seems fairly easy. It is an inversion where you balance on your hands. Acrobats, gymnasts, and even some yogis make it look effortless. What we fail to see is the training, time and effort that goes into learning to do one.
Did you know that in the Ashtanga yoga method, handstands are not part of either the Primary or the Intermediate series? Yet we see many practitioners press into a handstand to jump-back and jump-through regardless of which series they practice. The practice is physically challenging already without adding a handstand to every vinyasa. Still, I continue to practice them.
When I first decided to work consistently to achieve a handstand, I started hand standing against a wall. I soon learned that this was not an effective way to learn. Handstanding is much more than being able to support your weight on your hands. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it! And it can become extremely technical while focusing on perfect alignment.
Important aspects to achieve a handstand are:
- correct hand placement
- how to bear weight on your hands
- shoulder strength and flexibility
- core strength
- awareness of your hips, glutes, and legs
- how to fall
Mastering the key aspects mentioned above will determine the quality of your handstand and how long you actually balance. Kicking into a handstand and balancing for two seconds is NOT a handstand.
In my quest to learn to handstand, I have watched many online videos and asked many for help. And although I have received a lot of useful advice, it is not magical, you have to practice. What I have learned is that shoulder and core strength is of utmost importance. If you lack either, your handstand will suffer and you will be prone to injury. Strength training is a must!
Here are two of the best handstand gurus I have found online. They both have YouTube Channels with strength training exercises and techniques to make handstands available to everyone.
Lots of love,