Handstand and forearm balances take a lot of presence, body awareness and strength. They also take time and dedication to progress into the full variation of the pose.
However, making small changes in technique to some of our common poses practiced in Power Flow and Hot Yoga classes can start to prepare the body in all of these areas to go upside down with more confidence.
Downward Facing Dog (Ado Mukha Svanasana)
In our downward facing dog we start to see the line of a handstand from our wrists to our hips. A few tricks to adjust this pose to compliment your inversions practice is:
- Lifting the pelvic floor (mula bundha) helps to stabilise the pelvis, and activating our lower abdominal muscles helps to stabilise the lower back and torso.
- To set the shoulders we want to feel like we are hugging our arms towards each other. This helps switch on some of the key muscle groups for our handstand holds and forearm balances.
- Spread the fingers wide and grip the ground with the fingers, connecting you to the earth and helping to find your balance.
Full Plank Pose
Our plank pose helps to strengthen the muscles required to hold us upside down. In the shape of the plank we see the line of our inversions from tip of the head to toes.
- Stack your shoulders directly over the wrists and press the ground away, imagining someone has their hand in-between your shoulder blades and you are going to press into their hand, creating a dome with you upper back and strengthening the shoulders.
- First activate the pelvic floor and then draw the belly button towards the spine, bringing the front of your hips towards the lower ribs. Recreating this slight hollowing of the body helps to create control when going upside down.
- Press into the heels engaging the legs, and then find length from the crown of the head to the heels of the feet, feeling the whole energetic line activating.
Low Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Ohhh this one is a doozy. We like to keep flowing past this one in our practice and very rarely do we hang out here for the fun of it. However, this pose can be key to building bent arm strength for our forearm balances and also arm balances like crow.
- Start in plank as above. From here shift the weight forward so that the shoulders surpass the finger tips and feet become very light. Lower the body by bending the elbows and hugging them towards your lower ribs.
- Stop when the elbows reach a 90 degree bend, this will be about when our elbows are touching the lower ribs. Do not come any lower, now hold it.
- Can you come out the same way you went in? Firm the belly and press into the earth to extend the arms out without letting the hips drop.
Got it? Don’t forget to breathe!
Here’s a Pro Tip for you to improve your inversions ~ even if you’re a beginner, or you have wrist or neck issues. Introducing the Inversion Bench. Check it out, it could be the solution you need to move forward with your inversion practice.
About the instructor: Stephanie Williams – with a background in Nutrition and Exercise Science and an interest in health coaching, Stephanie knew she loved teaching and empowering people. So, when the opportunity arose for Stephanie to do her yoga teacher training, she took it. It didn’t take long before Stephanie realised how much she loved sharing the experience of yoga with her students. She strongly believes that her job as a teacher is to meet her students where they are on any given day. Stephanie works within the framework of her students goals and provides them with a meaningful practice that empowers them to achieve.
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