Yoga is not about the handstand…

… still it’s nice to finally do it and enjoy it!

Reaching this Asana goal is for many students a long journey, a long trip for their body, a long way for their mind. I am one of these students and by writing about this pose I try to embrace this Asana deeply.

Everybody can practise handstand, except for when you are suffering from heart issues, high blood pressure or any acute back-, shoulder-, arm- or wrist injuries. Also during menstruation and pregnancy you should not practise this inversion pose.

Looking at it closer, starting with the body, handstand needs a lot of power in the shoulders, arms and core, so they need to get really strong. To develop this strength do plank poses, Chaturanga, push-ups, sit-ups in all their variations, Navasana… they won’t disappoint you. Don’t forget about the wrists, they also need attention and Bhujapidasana, Tittibhasana, Kukkutasana are perfect for strengthening them.

Having the body ready strength wise, let’s focus on pre-exercises:

++ Try to get a really good jump from Downward Dog, not only forwards, but also especially upwards. Lift the hip; it’s not so heavy as we all think.

++ Use the wall to get into the famous L-shape, meaning you walk with your feet up the wall and stop exactly at that point, where you reach 90° between your legs and your torso, which again is in line with your shoulders and arms. Hold this pose as long as you can, it will strengthen the required arm and shoulder foundation and give you the sensation of hanging down, head below the heart.

++ Advanced L-shape! Try to remove one leg from the wall, maybe you can even already lift one leg up. The aim is, to find this point of balance without the wall, this special point of balance you need to feel, so you know where you finally want to jump into.

++ Go into Downward Dog, use your jumping and balance tools to slowly bounce into the handstand till you reach your balance point, still having the wall in your back as security.

++ Last but certainly not least, go away from the wall. Bring all your focus to your stable arm-, shoulder- and hip foundation, use all your courage and go up into handstand. Remember, in the worst case you fall, roll over, get up and try again.

There is actually nothing to fear and still, like in other inversion poses, suddenly fear comes over us, fears deep inside us. Energy wise, fears are sitting in our Muladhara Chakra; fear of heights, water, rolling, falling… and if this Chakra is not cleared completely it’s not surprising that it all comes up in headstand and handstand, those Asanas connected to our 2 highest chakras, Ajna and Sahasrara Chakra. Our mind is blocking our body, making it stiff, trembling.

Be gentle, loving and patient with yourself! Don’t force or torture yourself too much, but also don’t give up, don’t stop challenging yourself! In the end a strengthened body, an improved sense of balance, a focused calm brain, a deeper confidence and trust in yourself are the rewards on the maybe long path to Adho Mukha Vrksasana.

(Angelika)