Build The Strength And Focus For Handstand
Mind feeling a bit foggy? Feeling in need of a pick-me-up? There is no pose I love more for cultivating focus and increasing energy levels than Handstand. Now, of course, most people can’t just pop right up into a Handstand whenever they please. That’s another thing that Handstand is a great teacher of, patience. The road to Handstand is often longer than one hopes, it requires grit and dedication, and a high shame threshold. If you find yourself going nowhere fast on your path to Handstand, here’s one of my favorite exercises to help guide the journey along:
L-SHAPE WALL HOLD
To get into this shape:
Stand facing the wall.
Lift one foot up off of the ground and extend your leg straight out in front of you. Make sure you can plant the entirety of the sole of your lifted foot on the wall. This is how to measure where to put your hands.
Stay where you are. Release your foot from the wall. Turn around (so your back is now facing the wall), and place your hands on the ground right underneath your shoulders where you feet currently are.
One foot at a time, start to walk your feet up the wall, until your body creates an “L” shape.
To refine this shape:
Align your wrists, shoulders, and hips in one straight line with one another.
Draw your pelvis into a posterior tilt (draw your pelvis in and up towards your sternum).
Grip the ground with your fingertips, and actively press your hands down into the floor.
Bring the big toe sides of your feet to touch if they’re not already, and squeeze your inner thighs in towards one another.
Actively press the soles of your feet into the wall.
Hold and breathe steadily for 5-10 breaths.
*Note: These refinements are not about making a shape with your body that looks “more beautiful”, rather, they are about teaching your body the necessary actions required to hold a Handstand away from the wall.
To come out of the pose:
Slowly, with awareness, start to walk your feet back down the wall to the floor (you’ll be in a shape similar to Down Dog).
Walk your hands back towards your feet.
Bring your feet hips width distance apart if they’re not already.
Fold your torso down over your legs, breathe, and soften in Rag Doll Pose until you feel grounded again.
If you are practicing this exercise as part of your yoga practice or Handstand strength training, repeat 3-5x (use your intuition to determine how many times that day). If you’re playing around with being upside down to simply receive the energizing and uplifting benefits of this pose, repeat 1-2x before continuing on with your day.
Happy Handstanding! xo