My unwavering love for upside down stunts, in particular handstand, started since before I knew about the existence of yoga. Until today, I still don’t get what it is about handstand that is so exciting but it just is. My whole life before enrolling into this teaching course, I’ve been trying with all my might to stand on my hand only to end up falling in all directions and bruising different parts of my body. I finally managed to “stand” on my hands one day but definitely nowhere close to stable yet.
Finally, one fine day during this course when we decided to go out and play at Lazarus island I managed to hold a steady handstand. Dreams do come true!
I used to think that to hold a handstand, you got to have a strong core strength but it’s really not so much of a core thing. The key to holding a handstand is to have a strong back and arms, upper back to be precise. Legs are semi-relaxed, not engaged so that weight can be moved downwards to upper body while upside down.
These are the movements that happen when you’re in a handstand position (with straightened legs):
- Dorsiflexion at wrist joints
- Extension at elbow joints
- Internal rotation of shoulder joints
- Upward rotation of scapula
- Extension at spine
- Tailbone tucked in
- Extension at knee joints
- Plantarflexion at ankle joints
Key muscles engaged are:
- Latissimus dorsi
- Erector spinae
- Gluteus maximum
- Tricep brachii
Drills that can help in progression of handstand practice include strengthening of upper back, shoulders and arms such as, not limited to, regular/dolphin pushups, repeated chaturanga to high plank, repeated downward dog to high plank.
Last but not least, learning how to fall out of a handstand massively helps with progression of handstand learning. Practice and all is coming! Takes me years to believe the truth to this statement.
200hr Vinyasa Sept 2015 (weekend)