Recently, one of the followers on my yoga for singers page asked me how to begin a handstand practice. In this video, I go through a few steps to get you into a handstand practice. Please take your time and move through the steps slowly without pushing yourself. It sometimes takes months or even years to build up the strength and balance to get into a full handstand. However, you can build a lot of strength simply by doing this prep work.
To begin: start in downward facing dog. Ground through your hands pressing into your finger pads, spreading your fingers, and suctioning through the center of your palms. Then raise one leg in the air while bending the other and start to kick up with the bent leg. Play around with kicking up both legs. Do several sets of these leg kicks and then rest. You might simply practice this for a few months.
Eventually, start kicking up near a wall and try to kick your straight leg up to that wall, bringing your other leg up as well. You can play with strengthening your arms in this wall-supported handstand.
If you want to branch out to playing in an unsupported handstand, bring one leg off the wall reaching straight up through the ball of your foot and stacking the ankle directly over the hip. Then, bend through the other leg placing the toes of the bent leg against the wall and play with floating those toes away from the wall for a few seconds before returning them.
Soon, you’ll be lifting both feet away from the wall.
Fitness Friday Week 33: Ustrasana- Camel Pose Part 2
Follow the directions on the video for this excellent heart opener and check out last week’s video for part 1.
Fitness Friday Week 32: Ustrasana- Camel Pose
Follow the directions on this video for this great “wake up” backbend.
Legs steal the show of this week’s Fitness Friday video…. partly because this is a series of supine leg stretches, but also partly because I put my camera in the wrong place and you can’t see anything but my legs.
Put your back down on the ground and enjoy the great slow holds of this winding-down practice. It’s perfect as a pre-performance calming sequence or a post-performance cool down to help settle down the adrenaline.
Follow the instructions on this video. You’ll need a yoga strap or a belt to assist you into these deeper stretches.
This short sequence is the perfect post-travel release. Not only does it help to lengthen your back and free your ankle joints, it also helps to drain fluid from your legs and get the blood flowing again.
To begin, lie on your back and lift your legs up in the air. If you feel too much pressure on your core, keep your knees bent. As you inhale, point through your toes. As you exhale, flex your feet. Continue 5-10 times. The next time you point your toes, keep them pointed and circle your toes around (like a conductor) for 5-10 rounds, and then circle them the other direction. Your ankles might click. Don’t panic unless it’s painful. The movement helps to get the synovial fluid moving in your joints which helps with range or motion and joint health.
Your joints will be happy!
This is my favorite short series to help me wake up my body every morning. To start, interlace your fingers behind your back, straighten your arms, and press your hands towards the floor, lifting your chest and gaze up to enter a soft backbend. Then, begin to hinge at the waist lowering your torso into a fold and bringing your arms up towards the sky. Releasing your hands, take ahold of your opposite elbows and pull your forearms towards the ground to lengthen through the spine. To go deeper into your forward fold, lean your weight towards your toes while lifting your hips up and engaging your thighs. If you’d still like a deeper stretch of your back and hamstrings, take your hands and wrap them around your calves. Good morning body!