Caley Alyssa is an LA-based yoga instructor and the founder of Caley Yoga. Her new class, Yoga Inversions 101: An Introduction to Getting Upside Down, gives you a step-by-step approach to nailing handstands, headstands, arm balances, and more.
There are a few very common pitfalls my students encounter regularly when attempting to invert. In a way, it's comforting to know that similar challenges and "-isms" arise for each of us in our inversion practice. But sometimes, even when we're aware of these "-isms," it simply takes time and practice to break a habit.
Here are three things that most everyone gets wrong when going upside down:
1. Watching your feet
Trust me, your feet will do what they're supposed to do without you watching them. Once you have a more advanced practice, you can work with dropping your gaze but not in the beginning stages of going upside down. Free yourself of all that foot-watching!
Kicking up to the wall can be fun if you've never gotten upside down before, but if you kick and use momentum to get upside down, you will flip over. I promise. Take it slow, and keep your legs strong and straight.
3. Using the wall
This is the biggest one: Don't use a wall! You will get used to overkicking, and you will make it so much harder on yourself to find your handstand. Once you've got a handstand, the wall can be beneficial for dropping your gaze or working on more advanced variations but not until you have an inversion away from the wall.