Inversion Yoga: Welcome to our 6-part series on getting you to handstand dominance by summer! Each week we’re going to focus on one small progression of the handstand. By the end of this series, we hope that you will have the skills to handstand to your heart’s desire!
Inversion Yoga Week 1: Handstand Facing the Wall
Why do we start facing the wall? Yes, starting out facing the wall is definitely more difficult than starting with your back to the wall. However, if you begin with your back to the wall, you’re most likely going to learn handstands with an arch in your back – no good.
We want to begin by teaching you good handstand habits, starting with an excellent hollow body position (pictured).
But Cody, isn’t that way too curved to be good for handstands?
Ahh, yes it is! This position is mean to teach you how to flatten out your lower back – getting rid of that nasty arch that appears due to weak lower abdominal muscles. The hollow body position works to strengthen the muscles that connect & stabilize the lower body & upper body together.
In a handstand, the weak spot is most often the abdominal muscles. While our core muscles have been well-trained to keep our torsos upright when we are on our feet, they are not well-practiced in keeping our legs upright when we are on our hands! This is where hollow body comes in.
After you have practiced the hollow body position, and are familiar with the muscles you must engage to maintain a strong, stable connection between your upper & lower halves, you can move on.
Handstand facing the wall:
The easiest way to get into a handstand is to start with your heels against the wall, fingertips pointing forward, in a plank or “downward dog” position. Walk your feet up the wall & walk your hands inward at the same time to close the distance between your body & the wall.
Try to bring your body & face as close to the wall as you can, focusing on being straight, vertical, and strong. You should be using your hollow body muscles to stay stable.
If you want, you can play with taking your feet off the wall, one at a time.
If you’re shoulders are giving you trouble, you need to work on shoulder strength. Do so by practicing wall walks: The exercise of walking your feet up the wall & your hands in, then back out, is excellent for strengthening all the muscles associated with handstands.
Only after you become used to the feeling of “correct” handstand position should you move on to the next progression.