Invite friends
Sign In Free Trial

Five Tips To Improve Your Handstands

It’s Handstand month in June on the Soul Sanctuary membership and we are excited to take you on a journey all about these playful inversions!
Blog-EMail-2

Handstands are a challenging but rewarding yoga posture that requires strength, balance, and focus. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced yogi, there's always room for improvement when it comes to your handstand practice.

This month is all about digging deep into everything handstands, from anatomy and prep to strength, mobility and flexibility, and even tackling any fears you may have (don't forget to check out our last handstand month if you want to go deeper into that topic HERE). We'll also look at how your mental state and perspective play a role in your practice. Plus, we'll show you how props like a chair or wall can help improve your handstands practice.

So why all the fuss about handstands?

Incorporating handstands into your yoga practice can improve your physical fitness, body awareness, and mental wellbeing. Handstands require strength in the upper body, core, and lower body, making them an effective full-body workout. Regular practice can also help you develop better balance, control, and stability in your movements, which can improve your overall yoga practice and make challenging transitions or balancing poses more manageable. Beyond the physical benefits, handstands require courage and vulnerability, which can help you develop confidence and overcome fears. The sense of accomplishment from achieving a challenging pose can be incredibly empowering and boost your self-esteem. By incorporating handstands into your yoga practice, you can improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and take your practice to new heights.

We have asked our expert inversion/handstand guest teacher Joa Gomez to share his Five Tips on How To Improve Your Handstand, alongside his handstand workshop coming to the membership this month:

Joa-Handstand-Blog-image
"Fortunately, there are several tips and tricks that you can use to improve your handstand practice. Here are my five tips that will help you take your handstands to the next level:"
Build Your Upper Body Strength

To be able to do a handstand, you need to have strong arms, shoulders, and upper back muscles. Therefore, it's super important to incorporate upper body strengthening exercises into your regular practice. Some exercises that can help you build upper body strength include plank, one-arm plank, chaturanga, and push-ups.
When doing these exercises, focus on maintaining proper form and technique. It's better to do fewer reps with proper form than to do more with bad form. Gradually increase the difficulty and intensity of your exercises over time as you build strength (you could do chaturanga with some weight on your back, or plank with your feet elevated on a chair or table).

Practice Against a Wall

If you are new to handstands, it can be helpful to practice against a wall. This will help you build the necessary strength and balance without worrying about falling over. To do a wall handstand, stand facing the wall with your hands about one foot away from the wall. Kick up your legs and place them against the wall while maintaining a straight line from your hands to your feet.
Once comfortable holding a wall handstand for several seconds, you can start practicing without the wall. However, it's important to remember that practicing against a wall should not be a substitute for practicing freestanding handstands. You should think of it as a tool to help you build strength and balance. If you are a busy bee, I would suggest doing what I did back when I started. Take 2-3 minutes every hour and go to the wall for 10-30 seconds. Handstands are about consistency and repetition, so the more you get exposed to it (without over-exhausting your body) the faster you will build that muscle memory and overcome fear (if you have).

Focus on Your Core

Having a solid core is essential to be able to handstand. Your core muscles help you maintain balance and control while in the handstand position. It's important to incorporate core strengthening exercises into your daily routine.
Some exercises that can help you build core strength include plank variations, boat pose, and hollow body variations. When doing these exercises, focus on maintaining proper form and technique. Gradually increase the difficulty and intensity of your exercises over time as you build strength.

Work on Your Technique

Having proper technique is crucial for performing a handstand. To achieve a successful handstand, your body should be in a straight line from your fingertips to your toes. Your shoulders should be stacked over your wrists, and your core should be engaged.
To work on your technique, practice the handstand position with your feet on the ground. This will help you get a feel for the proper alignment and position of your body. A great tip is to record yourself when doing this or practicing close to a mirror, so you can check visually as you start to understand the feeling of it. Once you feel comfortable with the handstand position, start practicing kicking up into the handstand position (first with the wall and if you’re comfortable with balance, in the middle of the room). It's important to remember that handstands take time and practice to master. Don't get discouraged if you don't get it right away. Keep practicing, and you will see progress over time.

Take Rest Days

Rest is just as important as practice when it comes to improving any physical skill. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild after a strong week of practice. It's important to incorporate rest days into your training schedule.
Rest days don't necessarily mean you have to do nothing. You can still engage in low-impact activities like restorative classes, or other physical activities. The key is to give your body a break from intense strength training, and handstand technique.

"Improving your handstand requires a combination of strength, balance, technique, and rest. By incorporating these five tips into your practice, you'll be well on your way to mastering the handstand. Remember to be patient, take your time, and most importantly, have fun!” - Joa Gomez.

It is also important to remember that a handstand practice is available for any body, shape and age, and this month our founder Cat Meffan will be talking to her dear friend Carly Rowena about what it was like to start her handstand practice as an adult. This will be part of our IG LIVE ‘In Conversations With’ on the 12th of June.

*******

If you find these inversions challenging, try working with the below journal prompts and affirmations this month:

JOURNAL PROMPTS:

What is my intention going into this month?
What progress have I made so far in my handstand practice?
How can I adjust my practice to better support my body?
What fears or limiting beliefs do I have around handstands?
How can I incorporate mindfulness and intention into my handstand practice?

AFFIRMATIONS:

I am strong and capable of achieving my handstand goals.
I trust my body and its ability to safely perform handstands.
I release any fears or doubts surrounding my handstand practice and approach it with confidence and playfulness.
My handstand practice is a reflection of my inner strength and determination.
I am grateful for the progress I have made in my handstand practice and I am excited to see what's to come on my journey.

********

This month is all about encouraging you to be playful in your practice whilst you build strength in your body and embrace those moments that may take you out of your comfort zone or make you feel a little scared. There are modifications throughout every practice and we really invite you to give the practices a go, even if being upside down isn’t your thing.

In our first week, we have a 60-minute handstand mandala flow for you to enjoy. We encourage you to bring a sense of playfulness to this practice and we aim to show you how you can incorporate modified handstands into a flow at any point.

This week we also have a short Wrist Therapy practice that will help you to warm up, cool down and strengthen your wrists and forearms for your handstands safely.

In the second week, we have a 30-minute practice that will use a chair as a prop for your handstand journey. Using a chair as a prop in your handstand practice can be beneficial as it allows you to build strength and confidence whilst maintaining alignment.

It also provides support and stability, making it a great tool for beginners or those who are working with modifications.

In our third week, we have a 45-minute lower body fluid flow with our dear guest teacher Caroline. This flow focuses on stretching out the muscles, joints and fascia you have been using through the month so far, with a few juicy shoulder stretches as well and no inversions.

This week’s Meditation journeys through the Koshas (the sheaths) with a focus on shifting your perspective, both around your handstand practice and life on and off your mat. Definitely one to save and come back to as often as you need a little shift in your perspective.

In our final week, we have a 20-minute power based drills and skills practice that will prep the body for handstands against the wall. Be sure to have a clear space that you can practice in and also make sure to have lots of fun.

We also have another wonderful 75-minute workshop from inversion powerhouse and Soul Sanctuary guest teacher, Joa Gomez. Many wonderful drills (that can be modified) and tips to continue helping you on your journey.

As always, we have our suggested Soul Sanctuary flows from the back catalogue (in black) that align with this month's theme, mapped out below in our printable calendar. The month’s new practices are highlighted in terracotta. You can also find these additional practices in the calendar function on our beautiful app or search for them on the membership on the website via desktop.

And don’t forget - you can flow along with our monthly playlist HERE.

Jue-Calendar-Blog-update-2
We can’t wait to be upside down with you xx
Come flow with us
×

Be the first to know about offers and exciting news from Cat Meffan and the Soul Sanctuary: