I went to an awesome handstand workshop at Studio 3SixT today. Angie, a yoga teacher by profession, was leading. “You’ve got to fall,” Angie told our small group. We were all in a down dog position, trying to place our knees on our elbows. “Keep looking forward. You might face plant, but the only way to get over it is to try it.”
The workshop started off by thoroughly warming up our cores and arms with a variety of yoga-based positions. Doing handstands is all about balance in your core, and Angie was leading us in exercises to find that balance.
One of the best exercises is called the crow pose.
After practicing the crow pose, we headed over to a wall. We opened with a partner exercise. Many people struggle (and by many people I mean me) to kick up into a handstand because they are not engaging their legs properly. To fix this, she had us do a partner exercise. One partner stood facing the wall, hands down and butt up. This partner would lift one leg in the air, and the other partner would grab the leg. The first partner would then use their leg as a lever to push them up into the handstand position. Genius!
The next part was the most helpful for me- once we were up in our handstand, Angie had us bend our knees so that our hips were aligned over our shoulders. This really helps you feel the balance, much more so than keeping your legs straight does.
After doing a two minute plank (we were instructed beforehand to act like we were giving birth- to pretend like there was absolutely no way out of completing the first two minutes), Angie moved on to the press up handstand. She suggested not attempting the press up handstand against the wall, because it will force your arms into a weird angle. She recommended breaking down the press up into four steps:
- Press down into your hands, slowly lifting to your tippy toes and eventually tapping your toes to your wrists.
- Doing the same thing, but then bringing your toes a little to the side of your body.
- Doing the same thing, coming up enough to tap your toes together above your head.
- Pressing up into your handstand, holding it, and being a total badass.
Patience is important in the process of getting a press-up handstand too. “It was many years of falling before I stuck a handstand,” Angie said. “It’s having the courage to fall and fail. Let it be fun. This is just the beginning… I know a lady in her late 60’s who does press up handstands.”
You can learn more about Angie here.