6 Days to Handstand - Guest Post by Chante


Guess what!? I have yet another amazing guest post brought to you by my dear yogi friend, Chante. This is for the previous yoga challenge she co-hosted with me for #posebypose. She is the handstand master! So it was just so fitting for her to teach us how to get into the popular inversion. 

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 Hey guys! For this #PoseByPose challenge I decided to breakdown handstands because it is a pose that I personally love, and I wanted to share it with you guys. Handstands took me awhile to do, and even up to this point of my practice there is still a lot I need to work on. While it is almost impossible (at least for me) to learn how to do a handstand in 6 days, it is important to incorporate these six prep poses into your practice!

 Day 1: Dolphin pose and dolphin plank.
 These poses combined are really great for building up core strength and shoulder strength. You may notice that your calves feel extremely tight! To relieve tension off of them, bend your knees and go onto your tiptoes. Once in dolphin pose you could lift up one leg at a time, or do any fun variations you can think of.

Day 2: Headstand
For day 2, we worked on our headstands. This pose is great for experimenting with your balance while you’re upside down, and it is also great for building core muscle.  For this pose, put your forearms on the ground and link your fingers together. Cradle your head inside your palms and extend your legs out. With control, send one leg up and then the other. Straighten out and boom, you have a headstand! If you’re a little wobbly with this pose either go by a wall or have a lot of pillows around you.  If you accidentally fall, try to tuck quickly into a summersault.

Day 3: Headstand Pikes
While headstand pikes are a little challenging, they are a great way to build up core strength and play around with your balance.  For this pose, get into a headstand.  As you lower your legs, slowly inhale and bring your legs down and tilt your whole back (as you can see in the picture).  Tilting your back will help you stay balanced as you lower those legs down. To straighten up, exhale and as you exhale raise your legs until you are aligned straight.  If you’re a bit wobbly I suggest either going by a wall and leaving some space between you and the wall, or going into boat pose and alternate between boat pose and lowering your body down but keeping your shoulders up!

Day 4: Downward Dog Pushups
So for day 4 of breaking up handstands we did downward dog push ups. While there are some variations to this exercise I love to do downward dog pushups by first going into downward dog and then going into plank and then a push up!  This exercise is wonderful for gaining arm strength which is important for getting into handstands. I challenged the #posebypose folks to do five of these!

Day 5: Handstand Jumps
Handstand jumps are a great way to play around with balance and learn how to get into a handstand.  Start off with your hands to the ground. Before you kick up, really engage your shoulders and start to tighten your core. As you kick up bring one leg back up and straight and the other leg bent (as seen in picture above). The great thing about handstand jumps is it is possible to get a little bit of hang time. I would recommend doing this without a wall because when we practice with a wall we tend to over kick because we know that a wall is there to catch us.  If you are practicing handstand jumps without a wall and you accidentally over kick, bend one arm and go into a cart wheel. This is a great prep pose to get into a handstand. I would suggest getting used to this before going to full on handstand!

Day 6: Handstand
Using what we learned from Day 5, ground your hands and engage those shoulders and core.  Kick up as you would do in a handstand jump and see if you can get some hang time. If you feel stable, you can take the bent leg and slowly bring it up and eventually bring both legs together. To avoid having a banana back really try to breathe into your core and bring length into your spine. Push away from the ground, having your gaze slightly ahead of you so you head is not just dangling.
Thank you for participating for the whole #posebypose challenge. You guys are amazing! All of you guys bring such positive energy and come with such determination. I am so happy to be able to share my practice with all of you guys.

Chante is a 19 year old college student, studying Biochemistry at Michigan State University.  She practices healthy living by following a yogi and vegan lifestyle.  You can check out her blog: http://sunny-yogi.tumblr.com

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