One of the poses I’m asked about the most often from my Udaya students is handstand. So many people are eager to move away from the wall and practice in the center of the room. This is a great idea! If you stay at the wall for too long, you’ll eventually get stuck there. Let’s move out of our comfort zones and get upside down with no external support. If there was a secret to practicing handstand away from the wall, I would give it to you. I promise. Unfortunately there isn’t. What I can share with you are a few tips that will allow you to work on your handstand in the center of the room.

Some of the key components to getting balance without the wall are stability of the shoulder girdle, a firm and engaged core, neutrality in the pelvis, and a steady gaze slightly forward from the hands. Many teachers talk about this, yet forget to instruct the legs. One very important part of getting up and balancing in handstand is active legs. When hopping up from one leg, it is crucial to energetically reach the top leg up. It is the activity in the top leg that will help pull you up and keep you up. When both legs are up, the femurs should be lifting up off the pelvis, not simply resting. Try to feel the action of the legs reaching toward the ceiling, first at the wall, before moving away from it. Then, when you get brave, work these little hops toward handstand with an awareness of your lower body. With this new awareness, in addition to the other key components, practice away. Before you know it, with tons of practice, you’ll be balancing too!

Watch the full class, Stand on Those Hands!, on for more insights and demonstrations of handstands.

If you have a partner to assist spotting you, my teaching tip How to Spot in Handstand will help them to help you.

By Vytas Baskauskas

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