Move-It Monday~Yoga Pose: Handstand (Assisted)
Difficulty level: Medium
- Strengthens the wrists, arms, and shoulders
- Balance challenge
- Focus required calms the mind
Begin in Down Dog. Draw your shoulder blades firmly onto your back as you press your rotate your upper arms outward and as you press your arms towards each other. Have your partner stand near your hands, placing their hands on your hip bone. Bend one knee as you lift the other leg creating a hopping action. Inhale as you prepare to hop, then exhale fully as you lift one leg. On the third “hop”, engage your core abdominal muscles, and lift the straightened leg in an arc overhead as your partner assists by drawing your hips up and stabilizing the handstand. Immediately draw the other leg up next to the first leg.
At this point, many yogis want to “dump” into their shoulders and arch their back to balance. Instead, pull your ribs towards your spine and press your tailbone towards your heels. Squeeze your inner legs together, lifting fully through the heels.
Let your head hang in between your arms as you gaze straight ahead. Hold this for several breaths.
To descend, have your partner slide one hand up the leg closest to them to the foot or ankle for stability, keeping the other hand on your hip. Engage your core abdominal muscles and slowly lower the leg further from your partner towards the floor. As that foot nears the floor, your partner can help to guide your other leg on the descent, then release the leg as your first foot touches the floor.
No partner available? You can also practice handstand against a wall. Place your hands a few inches from the wall to allow adequate space for your head to come forward. Practice walking forward in your Down Dog to bring your shoulders over your hands, then your hips up over your shoulders. Once you are comfortable with the sensation of “stacking” the hips, shoulders and hands, practice the hopping action (be sure to practice on both sides!), until you are comfortable kicking up with your feet on the wall.