Handstands, while not being incredibly easy for the beginner, are not as difficult as they seem. This move can be easily achieved, by working up to it and practising other poses and exercises that will build the muscle strength and coordination needed to pull it off. Here's our step-by-step guide:
1. Build your arm and core strength
Start by doing pushups and situps, until you can comfortably perform about 20 pushups and a fairly high number of situps. Although this isn't a must, it'll help you gain the strength to do a handstand fairly quickly. Next, practice the plank and chaturanga, to further develop your core and shoulder strength. The ability to keep your coordination while your muscles are burning will be a great help in adding a handstand to your arsenal of poses.
2. Get used to being upside-down
The feeling of being upside-down can be distracting and overwhelming. When your head goes below your heart, your blood rushes to it and it can be slightly intense. Help yourself get comfortable, by practising your forward bend: it's an easy way to get used to the head rush, while improving your flexibility for other applications.
"Amy Jirsa of Quiet Earth Yoga shows a great way to balance yourself, when you're building up to do a handstand." (Photo by Amy Jirsa)
3. Use a wall for guidance
Coordination is one of the toughest parts of doing a handstand, as most people overshoot or undershoot their legs and lose balance, when they’re making their early attempts at it. By using a wall, you can catch yourself, by overshooting a little. After a while, you'll get a feel for the amount of 'push' you need, in order to launch yourself into a good handstand. The stronger your core, the easier it will be to control.
4. Take the training wheels off
Once you get the hang of it – and you don't need to depend on the wall for guidance – try doing it without anything to help you. If it doesn't work, try to pinpoint where you need work. It could be a lack of coordination and balance, shoulder strength, core strength, confidence or anything in between.