Yoga Handstand Video Tutorial: Handstanding 101 “The Basics”

Yoga Handstand Video Tutorial: Handstanding 101 “The Basics

Do you want to do a handstand but have no idea where to start?

Good!

You have come to the right place!

This handstand tutorial video will cover all of the basics from hand placement to how to kick up!

  • Place your hands on your yoga mat shoulder distance apart and spread all ten fingers gripping the mat lightly with your fingertips
  • Wrap your triceps back towards your ribcage and roll your biceps forward.
  • Engage your biceps by trying to “wrinkle the mat” between your hands. You will probably not actually cause the mat to wrinkle but this isometric contraction will help your bicep muscles to fire up!
  • Pull your navel in towards your spine and your bottom floating ribs in and up towards the tops of your thighs.
  • Walk your feet as close as you can to your hands. This should feel a lot like Ardha Uttanasna with your hands flat on the floor and your feet about 18 inches behind your hands. Do this while still keeping your shoulders firmly planted on your upper back and not sliding forward towards your ears. If this happens, slide your shoulders back down and maybe walk your feet back an inch or two.
  • Lift one leg into the air and straighten it all the way. Think of trying to stretch the skin on the back of your knee.
  • Turn the lifted foot pinky straight down towards the ground squaring off the hip.
  • Keeping the lifted leg as straight and firm as possible bend your standing leg and on an exhale kick the straight leg up into the air. (Exhaling as you go up will draw your navel towards your spine and help to engage your core)
  • Keep your eyes fixed just in front of your index fingers the whole time. Resist the temptation to gaze back at your feet.
  • Once you find your balance squeeze your inner thighs together (think thigh master!) draw your navel towards your spine and reach your tailbone towards your heels!
  • You can practice this at the wall and then move away from the wall as you feel more confident.
  • Practice, practice, PRACTICE! It is 99% effort and 1% theory!
  • Subscribe to my blog for more yoga inspiration, videos, practice tips and much, much more!
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How to Make Your Yoga Inversions Better: External Rotation of the Shoulder Joint

Website for this image http://www.yogajournal.com
Website for this image http://www.yogalifejourney.com
Inversion Principle for the Shoulders: External Rotation of the Arms.
One of the cornerstone principles of alignment in any inversion is external rotation of the arms. We practice this every time we turn our palms to face out and sweep our arms overhead so it should be easy right?
Sadly, no!
Most of us have developed some very bad habits! What makes full external rotation with arms up so challenging is that typically when we take our hands up overhead several tragic things occur.
Yes, I use the word tragic…
Common Misalignments When Taking the Arms Overhead in External Rotation
1. Our shoulders draw up by our ears
2. Our ribs poke out
3. Our butts stick out to compensate for our now contorted alignement
4. I get my yoga teacher panties all in a bunch
For most of us, these bad habits are born way back in the beginning of our yoga practice when the teacher first asks us to take our arms overhead and we try to take our arm bones past our ears.
Perhaps we secretly believe that if we are to score any yoga “street cred” we must display feats of unusual and exemplary flexibility.
Maybe it’s because we long to be teachers pet and in the dark corners of our young impressionable yoga minds we believe that yoga teachers tend to favour the students that look like they could spend a couple of hours on “The Rack” without so much as a peep of discomfort.
Or perhaps we are showing off for the cute boy we met at Starbucks who just happens to have parked his Manduka mat behind ours (What? He has the same mat as you?..it’s a SIGN! Now all you have to do is impress him with your flexibility and bam! The two of you will ride off together into the proverbial yoga sunset…or better yet float off on his Manduka Mat like Walt Diseny’s Alladin.)
Yes, I’ve given it some thought you see, but probably not enough…
In All Inversions: Draw your arm bones in to your shoulder sockets and externally rotate them. 

Above you can see the most basic example of external rotation of the arms in the first photo the model has the hands alongside her body her thumbs pointing away from her body. (in internal rotation the thumbs would point in see below) In the second photo the model has kept the external rotation of the arms and taken her arms up overhead. Several amazing things are happening here.

Proper Alignment When Taking the Arms Overhead in External Rotation

  1. You can see that her shoulder blades are firmly on her upper back and not riding up by her ears.
  2. Her shoulder blades are spreading apart from one another. This action helps to engage Serratus Anterior. (Serratus Anterior is the MVP when it comes to inversions!)
  3. The armpits are hollowed out and her arms are stick straight. Her triceps are firm and wrapping forward towards her front body and her biceps and inner shoulders are moving  towards her back body.
  4. Her tailbone is drawn down towards her heels and is neither squeezing nor sticking out too far.

Work your External Rotation in Plank, Downward Dog and Cat/Cow Poses. 

  • You can work external rotation of your arms in many poses but in particular Cat/Cow, Plank and Down Dog. When your shoulders are in true external rotation it feels as if you are hollowing out your armpits. Imagine you had to hold a tennis ball under each armpit and you will get the feeling I’m talking about.

Need Still Further Convincing that Externally Rotating Your Arms is Important?

  • When external rotation is not present when taking the arms overhead it can cause impingement syndrome. (Head of arm bone crashing into the acromion process.) Ouch!
  • Feel It: Notice how different it feels to take the arms overhead with the arm bones rolled in (internal rotation palms facing back shoulders rolled forward) vs. rotated out (external rotation palms facing forward shoulders rolled back).

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It’s a fact. Let’s face it, wether we like it or not having a strong core is the building block to any yoga pose. You can never do too many abs, or have a core that is just too ridiculously strong. Love this quick and effective ab routine from The Haute Bunny, check it out!

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This workout is awesome if you wanna shrink your waist and get a flat toned tummy!  Each move has a picture accompanying it to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing.  If you do it, tell me if you like it!

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