Tips on Mastering Handstand

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | February 14th, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Green Living, Yoga

Kathryn Budig HandstandAny yoga pose can be done in an inspired way. In fact, the more inspiration you put into it, the better the pose. (This goes for Savasana too, yo.) Be present, breathe, look inward, breathe … be inspired. This is yoga!

Nevertheless, most of us yogis aspire toward the more advanced asanas, and one that usually comes right to mind is Handstand: Adho Mukha Vrksasana. Downward-Facing Tree. In which your hands and fingers are the branches reaching down into the ground, and your feet and toes the roots reaching for the sky. There’s nothing like it for a new perspective — on yourself and on life in general.

Handstand is not a pose that comes naturally to most of us. We have all kinds of preconceived notions about ourselves, about our capabilities, heck, even about gravity. Turning completely upside down — even at the wall, nevermind in the middle of the room — is a tad unnerving.

So what is required to get there?

You know some of it: core alignment, mindfulness, a solid foundation, focus, visualization, a sense of adventure and daring. But a good yoga teacher is also crucial in helping most of us achieve this pose.

There’s that “a-ha” moment when a teacher offers just the tip you need, the one subtle action that, once you heed it, becomes a game changer. It might be that you tap a bit more deeply into your core strength, or that you get your hips a little bit higher before kicking up, that you spread your fingers and straighten your arms, or that you consciously lengthen your spine. And lo! You’re in Handstand … or certainly closer than you’ve ever been. It’s a fantastic feeling. You’re on your way!

Tina Bonifacio started her yoga practice on the living room floor of an ashram in a small house in south Boulder long ago in another era. Tina has had a yoga practice throughout her adult life and recently completed a 200-hour teacher training. Her English-teaching career has taken her to posts far and wide. An ingrained gypsy spirit keeps Tina roving the globe and tasting the many delights of life.


  1. [...] Handstands and Headstands are more than just balancing. Both positions require plenty of upper-arm strength to keep your body upside-down and in proper alignment. [...]

Post a Comment

If you want to show your picture with your comment, go get a gravatar!