Spread and engage fingers by squeezing into the mat. Roll your shoulders to feel activation and connection through your hands. Lengthen your gaze up lifting from the chest elongate the back of your neck. As you lift up exhale and squeeze your lower belly in and up from the pelvic, floor and through the low belly. Lastly, push the heels up towards the sky as you lift.
Hey guys! Handstands are one of those poses many of us struggle with for ages without progress.
In this post I’m going to talk about Alignment, 5 tips to better setting yourself up in whatever method you’re using to come up into handstand. Read along here and then watch the included video for more detail and a visual perspective:
Tips for Handstands
1. Fingers and hands:
Spread and engage the fingers by squeezing into the mat. Doing this takes load out of your wrists and helps spread the weight better, helping you find center and balance. Secondly, here you can use the squeeze of your fingers to help stop you toppling over – your fingers can act as brakes slowing the movement and helping you find center, when you think you’re coming too far over squeeze the fingers strongly to come back.
2. Set your shoulders:
Roll your shoulders up, back and down a little to feel activation and connection through to the hands. Create space in the neck while letting the shoulder blades lift up the back, finding a balance of lift and restraint. Connect this to your hands by squeezing into the mat with your fingers and pushing down from the shoulder, connecting the fingers and wrists to your upper body.
3. Set your eyes:
Take the eyes slight forward of the hands and pick something to look at and don’t let that change. Leave your eyes on this one point religiously. By lifting your eyes forward you help open the chest by lifting the collar bones up away from the body. In other words, lengthen your gaze up lifting from the chest elongate the back of your neck.
As you lift up exhale and squeeze your lower belly in and up from the pelvic, floor and through the low belly. Avoid extending or crunching into your lower back as you come up as common, keep your belly firing and contained as you lift. Once again, Exhale and squeeze through your belly as your lift up, keep that spine safe and that torso contained!
5. Complete it with the feet!
Push the heals up towards the sky as you lift. Connect everything up from fingertips through shoulders, through belly into the legs up to the sky by leading the complete body with your heal. A handstand is the complete connection of your body from finger tips to toes, or in this case, heels. Without this last piece of the puzzle it’s very hard to make this pose work.
Are these 5 tips going to mean to nail a handstand tomorrow? I can’t say, but likely not, it took me a couple of years to find confidence in my full arm balance and others much longer than that. What I can say though is that practicing your inversions with alignment in mind is only going to help, make it safer for you practice and make your odds of making it up greater.