Mastering an impeccably aligned and composed handstand fills many a nights’ dreams for yogis and movement lovers alike. Videos and photos of this often intimidating pose has exploded across social media feeds and if you’re like me, you often find yourself wondering how that instructor or devoted student makes a handstand look so effortless?
While we all know practice can make perfect, we decided to speak with Be Well Fest presenter and handstand queen *Alexzandra Peters to learn three exercises you can incorporate into your practice now to make your handstand dreams a reality.
One of the best ways to strengthen your foundation of your handstand is to practice activating and strengthening the muscle between the thumb and the index finger. This muscle is rather weak compared to the muscle on the outside of your hands (the inside muscle is the muscle that stabilized your inversion). We need to warm this muscle up because it ties into the inner forearms and the biceps and triceps watch we want to have active when were in our inverted position.
Spread your pointer finger and thumb finger away from one another, lift all other fingers in the air and press the thumb and finger towards one another activating that inner muscle.
Let the chest come forward and shoulders stack over wrist – if you want less pressure, bring the shoulders back a little.
Hold here for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times
Plow Pose to Boat Pose
The classic boat rock up from plow pose is a great way to find and feel body connection and engagement – something you need to be able to do when trying to work on inversions. This also helps you work on core engagement, keeping the body controlled and tight, and builds muscle memory. All elements you’ll need for kicking up into handstands.
Start is a some what relaxed plow pose, take an inhale in and on your exhale engage the entire body and rock up into your fullest expression of boat pose. Trying to find sturdiness as fast as possible. It may take a few tries to get the hang of this – that’s totally normal!
How many: 30 rock ups
60 Second Hallow Body Hold
To hold a handstand, it requires total body engagement, a strong core, arm and shoulder muscles, and Plank pose helps prepare you for it by strengthening the whole body. It also helps to prepare the wrists for the strength that is needed to support handstand.
Begin in table top pose, push out of your shoulders, tuck your tailbone, engage your core, then step both feet back. Work on keeping the heals over your toes, legs, glues, core and shoulders activated the entire time. Work on holding this pose for 60 seconds or more. And the most important rule: remember to breathe!
* Alexzandra Peters is a Maine based traveling Yoga Teacher, Thai Yoga Massage Therapist & Reiki Healer. Nine years ago, the practice of Yoga changed her life in so many ways. Since then, she's made it her passion and purpose to share this enlightening and powerful practice with as many as she possibly can.