When I was growing up, I loved watching my cousin’s dance recitals. Which is funny because I can’t dance to save my life. But she’s amazing. Always has been. And my favorite thing to watch were the routines with all the flips, cartwheels (and with one hand) and the holy grail…handstands.
And ever since I was little, I dreamed of doing a handstand. But I also thought that you either had the gift of handstands or you didn’t. And I was definitely in the “you didn’t” category.
But…I’m here to tell you I was wrong. And I don’t admit that often. When I started yoga and incorporating crossfit moves into my workouts, I made some lofty goals. And one of those goals was no matter how long it took, I would learn to do a handstand.
A good year…year and a half later and I’ve finally hit that goal. My handstands may not be perfect but I can do them.
And I’ve learned a few tips along the way that I’m sharing with y’all!
5 Tips to Master Handstand
1. Change your thinking. You cannot and won’t be able to do a handstand if you believe you can’t. Take out all the negativity. Create a mantra if you need to (I did) and repeat it All. The. Time. Do whatever you have to in order to believe in yourself.
2. Have a good foundation. Doing a handstand requires strength and not just arm strength. You need a solid foundation to help stabilize you and hold yourself upside down. Try doing some basic yoga: downward dog, plank, dolphin pose. Work yourself up to headstands to forearm stands to handstands.
3. Use the wall. Handstands take a lot of confidence and being comfortable being upside down. Until you build that confidence and get comfortable, use the wall. Start in downdog and gently hop up until you hit that balance point. You have the wall behind you to catch you if you fall. You can also gently kick up and get your feet on the wall and the lift one foot off, try balance and then try getting the other foot off.
Or do wall walks. Start in a plank position and walk up the wall until you’re as close to the wall as you can get. This helps strengthen the arms and shoulders.
4. Use a doorframe. This is my favorite right now. Sit far enough away from the doorframe that your foot touches. Basically you’ll be in plank position. Walk up the door frame until you make an upside down “L” Slowly lift one leg and (if you can reach) rest your foot on the top of the door frame. I can do this on my tippee toes. Once you get your balance, slowly lift the other leg until you’re in a handstand. This is a killer for the arm and shoulders but helps you feel out position you should be in for hitting your handstand.
5. Practice. Daily. Take 15 minutes a day just to practice handstands.
And give yourself time. Yes, some people are naturally gifted and can pop right into a handstand. I am not one of those people and, for me, it has taken a lot of hard work to get there. Be patient…if I can do this…anyone can!