It’s 2015! I think for most of us that means we’ve taken a second re assess our goals and figure out what we want to accomplish in this New Year. Also for lots of us, I bet “nailing handstand” is on your list of bad yogi goals for the year, am I right? 😉 These are the five poses that I always include in my practice when I know I’m about to invert. They’ll be a HUGE help– I promise!
1) Standing Split. I know this one is probably the LEAST satisfying pose to do, but it’s super important. Keeping the hamstrings long and flexible means you’ll have an easier time floating your way upside-down instead of throwing your body weight up there only to fall backwards. Even if they don’t look pretty once you start them, I promise they’ll improve with time. Plus, since your upper body’s inverted in this pose, you’ll get a head start on finding your bearings while your world is turned on its head.
2) Plank. Ahhh, can I ever say enough about the importance of core work when working on handstands? Answer: no! Plank is one of the best exercises to do for strengthening the entire core, from the “six pack” abs to the muscles in the back. The bonus is that it also strengthens the shoulders, pecs, and triceps which will come in handy when balancing on your hands.
3) Chatturanga. Coming it at a close second in a list of important parts for handstands is shoulder strength! Your shoulders work closely with the core to help stabilize the body when it’s flipped upside down, and a little bit of wobbly-ness won’t sway you (see what I did there?) when you have the strength to back it up.
4) Horse. Hmm, what does this have anything to do with handstands? Well, I’ve noticed that when my legs feel strong, I have a MUCH easier time getting in to handstand then when I’m just loosey-goosey. Your legs guide the body up, and having them be pillars of strength will make a world of difference.
5) Dolphin. Similar to Horse, this pose has a magical quality to strengthen the whole body from top to bottom, so doing this one hits everything you’ll need.
Remember that this is a process, so stressing over your progress won’t do you any good. Let it evolve over time and just enjoy the ride.
Oh! And if you want to deepen your practice and figure out where your misalignments are in these poses and others, check out my This Not That Yoga Pose Correctional Guide in the store. Right now, it still comes with my eBook Stick It!: 11 Badass Exercises to Help You Stick Your Handstands, for FREE.
Over to you: are there any poses you’ve noticed that correlate to better handstands? Every one is different, so there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution. Try these on for size while you work on this for 2015 and see how it feels!