Oh, hi handstand. I like you. A lot.
This is a how-to-posture breakdown. There are tons of postures that you begin with to build up to this point (plank and navasana), but anyone, can practice the alignment set up of this posture and maybe even try a hop or two! If you are practicing against a wall, set yourself up so that you are one thumb and one forearm distance away.
Handstand is just so wonderful. In fact, if I were a yoga posture, I would be a handstand. I will get into the benefits in a bit.
For now, I will break down the posture into 4 parts.
The posture starts with your set up. A lot happens in step 1.
Come into your downward facing dog (hands shoulder width distance apart, feet hips width distance, index fingers parallel to the side of your mat). Now, draw your shoulder blades down your back, away from your ears. Next, lift one foot an inch off the mat (or higher) without bringing your foot forward or backwards. Hover your foot there for 5 full breaths. Feel your femur bone descend into the hip socket, so there is a sensation of drawing it upwards. As your leg is lifted, hug your inner thighs together (adduction). Squeeze your forearms in towards one another, and hug your ribs together. Keep that squeeze of your inner thighs, and point your pinky toe down towards the earth. You are all set to practice little hops up with your lovely square hips. Your hips will remain square if you keep hugging inward and rotating inner foot arch up and pinky toe down (engage your feet and toes).
2. Hinge Forward, followed by a bent front knee.
One legged downward facing dog with square hips, keep your arms and belly strong, and with hips level. Keep squeezing your inner thighs together to use more mula bandha power. Inhale, hinge forward and tack your shoulders over your wrists!
Next, while in one legged downward facing dog with square hips, keep your arms and belly strong, and with hips level, play around with bending your front knee and hopping off the crowd to your comfort level. Keep squeezing your inner thighs together to garner more mula bandha power. Stack your shoulders over your wrists!
3. Draw bent knew into chest, but keep the lifted leg strong and straight.
With your shoulders stacked over your wrists, hips are identical on both sides, hug the bent knee to your chest, center yourself, breathe, hug thighs in, and once you find the point where you feel strong and balanced extend your other leg up, and reach the balls of your feet high up towards the sky.
4. Handstand Happiness.
Hug legs into your midline before, during kick up, and while in handstand! The balance comes from your center and expands outwards to your arms and toes. The pelvis is really heavy, and kicking up can be scary, I know! But by hopping up with square hips, you are doing yourself a real favor in terms of balancing; you are doing it with a lot more control!
Also, look at how freakish my toes look. I am flexing and pointing (flointing), and by doing so, I am firing up and activating every muscle throughout both legs. Keep your feet engaged!
In sum, handstands, work every muscle in your body. Try to see if you can smile and have fun, laugh at yourself, every time you fall down...and try again!
There are endless handstand benefits, but here is a short list:
-strengthens upper body
-improves balance (duh) but even when you are right side up (was that a duh, not sure)
-mood booster (you will feel like a rockstar)
-CORE (navasana helps)
-improves bone density (body weight baring), circulation (it gets your heart rate up), and breathing (don’t hold your breath while you are up there as many beginners do, keep breathing)
My bottom got all sandy, because this happened....
Keiki to the rescue! Summer is also an awesome adjustor, add that to her list of being the best kid ever.
Now, go get your handstand on!