Yoga Handstand for Beginners

Video tutorials for Shoulderstand and Headstand

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This video was filmed during a Yoga Teacher Training Intensive in the rolling coastal hills near Nosara, Costa Rica, so we apologize for the wind interference, which comes and goes. In case you miss part of the script, we’ve included it below 🙂

Script from video:
Today we are looking at handstand, Adho Mukha Vrksasana, translated as downward facing tree. This pose is a confidence  and strength builder, and can be accessed by anyone in some form or another. Today we have Irena as our model. Let’s begin by coming to downward facing dog with fingertips about about 6 inches from the wall. The reason for this is because if we are too close to the wall, we might bounce back off the wall soon after we make our way up. Starting off by lifting up on the balls of the feet and walking toes forward, then shifting the weight to bring shoulders over wrists to prepare for handstand.

Taking it to the next level, from downward dog as we exhale, draw the right knee into the chest and hold there. Inhale and release down. Another prep for handstand. Try the left side now and then release and rest in between sides.

Taking the next step, lift the right leg up with the inhale, holding here and releasing down, then lifting the left leg up all the way, holding for moment and then releasing it back down. This is the second step to prepare for the handstand. This step helps to balance out strength and flexibility in the shoulders. Anytime we are shifting the weight forward and lifting the legs we are engaging the core and muscles of the shoulder girdle, all very helpful in preparing for a handstand.

Once you feel confident enough and you are steady holding downward facing dog for 1-2 minutes, you are ready to attempt springing off to prepare for the next step into handstand. The first stage of that is just springing off with the right leg a few inches. This might be it for you, but if you are comfortable you might want to attempt springing off the mat with both legs coming all the way up to the wall. Recommended to use a teacher or friend to spot you in this attempt.

When you start out, the stronger leg is what is going to stay down on the mat, this will be the leg that we are springing off of. Once both legs are extended up, the practitioner should focus on squeezing he thighs together, engage in the pelvic area and core to stabilize in the pose. Pressing the shoulders away from hands and gazing straight down to the mat to help with balance is important. Try taking one foot off the wall slowly, progress to both legs coming off the wall with the aid of a teacher spotting. One hand on thigh, one hand closer to calf front and back to straighten out the student and help them stay stable.

When ready to release out, the teacher is guiding the student down slowly releasing one leg at a time with support. From here take a standing forward fold or child’s pose. Giving a press here in child’s pose is very nice after working the muscles along the spine to allow them to release through the pressing on the top of the hips near the sacrum, pressing down and away to get full length of the spine.

General Notes:

Using a wall as a prop is the best way to begin learning inversions such as the handstand, which builds all around strength and flexibility, reverses the flow of blood and lymph in the circulation, stimulates the nervous system, and creates a general sense of well being.

Hope this tutorial was helpful for you! Namaste 🙂

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