The Why and the How on Handstands

The Why and the How on Handstands

Are you in the process of working on your handstand? Or maybe your wondering how handstands can benefit you? Well you’re in the right spot! In this blog I’m going to talk a little bit about the benefits of handstands and then give you a step by step video on how to begin or enhance your handstand journey. Check out this article on handstands which corresponds to the handstands I will be teaching you today.

Handstand aka Adho Mukha Vrksasana is actually an inversion. An inversion is when your legs are above your heart and your whole world literally turns upside down. Why would I want to invert you may ask? Well, besides feeling like a carefree 5 year old again, handstands have many physical as well as psychological benefits.

One significant physical benefit is lymphatic drainage (when all the old blood from your legs returns to your heart, allowing new blood to be pumped back in), which is actually escalated when your contracting your muscles. Further more, handstands are fundamentally about strengthening your upper body, core and shoulders, in addition they can also be very energizing.

For the psychological benefits, this quote taken from the article above makes a great point:

The handstand is one of my favorite poses to teach in yoga because it shows the practitioner where their fear and doubt lies. With practice, this pose can remind you that you are capable of anything you put your mind to.

Challenging your perspective, facing your fears, giving you feelings of empowerment and confidence, who wouldn’t want to practice handstands?! Now we are going to get technical…

The article I’ve been talking about calls this pose the Half-Hand stand. Here is a brief description for you then take a look at the video as a picture (or youtube video) speaks a thousand words!

1. Come into downward facing dog with your heels up against the wall

2. Walk both feet up the wall til your heels are at the same level as your hips

3. Lift one leg, put it back on the wall and then lift the other leg, put it back on the wall and slowly come down.

Happy Handstands Yogis! Do you have a handstand story you would like to share? I would love to hear your comments 🙂


16 responses »

  1. I definitely watched this through my fingers. Yikes, that makes me nervous! My fiancée is a huge lover of yoga and he will randomly do handstands in our apartment. It scares me!! I love how you made this video from a beginners point of view. When I look up yoga videos on you tube if I am ever feeling a need for some relaxation, the majority seem to be for experienced people! Thanks so much for posting!

    • Thanks for your comment! Yes handstands can be really scary! To take away some of the fear of falling over backwards, you could do the half handstand but have someone behind you holding your hips or pressing into your back so you feel supported, that’s how I teach people in class.
      It sounds like you already have an experienced yogi to help you out!

  2. Awesome post! Handstands are my nemesis in yoga class as I can never sustain the position for long. I think it definitely has to do with my technique and mindset so your video is very helpful. I love the quote you included, “With practice, this pose can remind you that you are capable of anything you put your mind to.” – this is very true when it comes to yoga and especially handstands for me!

    • Thanks for your comment! The fact that you are getting up into handstands is amazing! The holding part will come with time and it also varies from day to day depending on your body and how strong your feeling.
      You are definitely capable of anything you set your mind too!

  3. Hi Danielle,
    Cute video and well done! You actually made a handstand look like something I could do…which I am doubtful of.
    Great instruction and thanks for sharing! I will have to try this sometime. I had no idea there were actual benefits to handstands other than strength conditioning.

    • I’m glad you liked it! Handstands can be really fun, if you want to go to a yoga class where the teachers will teach things like handstands try a power class!
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  4. Hi Danielle,

    What a great video and article. You have great flexibility…you made it look so easy. I have never been able to do a handstand, but I am going to give your tips a go. This blog was very informative, I had no idea.

  5. Hi Danielle,

    Thanks for the how-to video, I will try it soon! I have shown my better half this video as well as he is recovering from back surgery and it was recommended that he try yoga, specifically inversions. If he won’t listen to me, I hope he will listen to you!

    Are there any positions you can recommend in particular? He was told to do some inversion therapy and his focus is on his lower back.

    Thanks for everything, will be back for more!


    • Hi Courtenay! I’m glad you liked the video. Inversion therapy is really great for backs. Depending on where he is in recovery, he will probably want to start inverting with support around his back. There are some yoga studios that have rope walls, which help you go upside down. If he is feeling pretty strong then he could start doing yoga classes. I would recommend Iyengar style classes because they are exceptionally alignment focused and use lots of props to help you get into the poses.
      I hope that helps and thanks for your comment!

  6. Nice blog Danielle! I love your video and you explain how to it in an easy way. Your instructions were easy to follow! Your are so flexible it is crazy! If I was not pregnant, I would definitely try the headstand! Im starting maternity Yoga next week! I have missed yoga so much, before being pregnant I would do it 3 to 4 times a week. I wanted to end my first trimester before doing yoga again! Im very anxious to start!


  7. Pingback: #Handstand365 Challenge | Susanne's World

  8. Pingback: I want you to try a handstand today | Pepperminting

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