Yoga For Your Core: Drills To Help You (Finally!) Do A Handstand

Written by Rina Jakubowicz

My series on yoga for your core wouldn't be complete without a mention of handstands. One of the most challenging poses to master, this inversion requires serious balance and strength, both of which radiate from your center.

But what if you can't do a handstand? Not to worry: The drills I share here can be done consecutively, or you start with the first drill and develop it over time—and then move on to the second one, which involves hopping up. If you haven't done this kind of move before, you'll have to put on your “Fearless Cloak” in order to try the second one and have some fun with it.

Always be safe, but do not let yourself be paralyzed by fear, or its neighbor, doubt. Here we go!

Prep pose: Set yourself up for success

Photo by Courtesy of Nir Livni

This first picture shows how to position your body for these drills. Notice that my arms are straight and I’m rounding my back. I’m also hollowing out my belly and sucking it inward. My shoulders are also above my wrists, so I’m not leaning back onto my legs. I need to keep my weight forward.

Hold this prep pose for 5 breaths or as long as you need to really activate and engage from head to toe.

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Drill 1: Come into downward-facing dog

Bring your feet together and bring your hands in a few inches closer to your feet. Then bend your knees and widen them so you’re squatting between your knees. On the inhale bring your knees together and lean forward so that your shoulders are way forward.

Keep rounding your back like in the prep pose, and push the floor away from you. Hollow in the belly.

Exhale and come back to your squat, with your knees staying together. Then separate your knees to child's pose.

Do this drill 10 times. Inhale forward; exhale squat. When you're done, rest in child’s pose for 5 breaths.

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Drill 2: Hop up with knees bent

If you’re up for the next challenge, set yourself up the same as in Drill 1. Flow through downward-facing dog, wide-legged squat, then knees-together squat—but this time, when you inhale, you will hop up with your knees bent. Try to bring your knees into your chest while you lean forward with arms straight.

You want to be as quiet as possible so that most of your weight remains in your arms and core. Don’t straighten your legs in the air into handstand. The drill is to keep the knees in for core development.

As you exhale, you’ll softly land back down with you knees together. As in Drill 1, separate your knees into child's pose.

Do this drill 10 times, then rest in child’s pose for 5 breaths or longer if you need it.

Repeat these drills daily if possible! Get flying, and befriend trust and empowerment!

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