MY FAVORITE CUESNew inspiring cue that revolves around the theme of the month each Wednesday. All content taken is taken down at the end of the month when new theme is posted.
All cues are meant to be used when you're in full expression of the pose unless otherwise noted.
If you’re not kicking up into Handstand yet, try starting in Downdog and slowly walk your feet in towards your hands, one footprint at a time. As your feet come closer to your hands, push into your hands with the intention of sending them into the earth. With this pressing action, you should feel a lightness in your feet, which is great prep work for Handstand!
A key concept to remember when practicing Handstand is to create engagement throughout the whole body. The above cue may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how much more stability this can create in the pose. If the base of the pose isn’t strong (in this case, your hands and arms), you will not be effectively supported when you are upside down.
For a few other helpful tips, check out this week’s Favorite Find. Briohny Smyth provides some great insight into Handstand that may make the difference in kicking up with control vs. flailing as you attempt to go upside down.
Taking the time to stretch your hamstrings before you float into Handstand can make a big difference. Why? If you are someone who kicks up (really, you are striving to lift into a Handstand without having to kick too much), it is much easier to balance with your legs separated. Think of a tightrope walker – they use a long stick to help with balance.
With Handstand, your legs act like the stick! You want to be far enough away from the wall so that when you slowly kick up (I like to think of this as a slow motion movement), you don’t slam the leg you’re kicking up with into the wall. The more warmed up your hamstrings are, the easier it will be to separate them and use them as your “balancing stick”.
I made a 20-second video to show you how to work on coming into Handstand. Begin close to the wall and little by little move yourself back. You’ll know what I mean when you watch the video.
Once you are up in your Handstand, create a small tuck of the pelvis.
You will rarely hear me cue to “tuck the tailbone” in any pose. But, Handstand is one of the rare poses where this cue comes in handy for stabilization.
Yuval Avalon is a circus artist and gymnast, who is one of the most sought-after Handstand trainers in the world. He believes, “when you rotate your pelvis it encourages both an activation of the pelvic floor and the lower abdominal muscles. Holding the pelvis in a posterior tilt also flattens the lower back and minimizes the ‘banana’ shape in Handstands that can dump weight into the lower back. Rotating the pelvis also encourages awareness around the center of gravity, which is one of the most efficient places to initiate movement from.”
What else helps ease the transition into a stable Handstand? Opening your hamstrings!! To review why open hamstrings can be so helpful, click here for last week’s newsletter. And, don’t forget about my 17-minute video that is specifically designed to stretch and lengthen the hamstrings. Click here to go to the class.
***The cues I find and post are by well respected body experts and Doctors who teach yoga and other body nerds like myself.
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