Preparing for a Handstand

In this video I am practicing a simple combination of 6 spinal-trunk movements of (forward bending/backwards bending, lengthening/shortening, and expanding/contracting). These spinal wavelike movements are enough to keep me energised, strong and flexible. The handstand I do after these movements is simply just a byproduct at the end that I can choose to do when I wish. During the handstand I continue the same trunk movements on the inside and they even generate the energy to easily lift to handstand on an inhalation.

Handstands are not simply about arm strength and cannot be adequately prepared for by only doing things like push-ups. Handstand is about a balance in the whole body. And what is more important is the idea of balance and not just the handstand itself.

Physical attributes of appropriate strength and flexibility have to be balanced with the physiological attributes of appropriate breath-control, blood-flow and nerve function.

On a physical level it is important to have strength between the muscles of pulling and muscles of pushing, for example the biceps and triceps of the arms have to be equally balanced to give stability to the arms and handstand.

But in preparing for this sort of work very few people can do the same number of push-ups as they can the same number of chin-ups. Yet this type of muscle balance is important not just for the handstand but also for the health of the arms in daily life.

In the dynamic preparation that I’m doing before lifting up to the handstand in this video I am doing a very simple form of non-weight bearing chin-ups and push-ups in equal numbers.

At the same time my arms are moving smoothly through nerve tensioning positions and my spine and trunk are moving into positions that make health giving changes to breath-control and heart rate variability (HRV) happen automatically.

The simple movement exercise I do at the start of this video is enough to make me feel good, and are so accessible to most people.

The handstand is not for everyone at all, and is just something I do occasionally (maybe once a week these days) for fun and to see if my strength and flexibility are still adequate to do this ‘trick’.

It is simple non-weight-bearing spinal movements like I show at the start of this video that I mostly prefer to teach in my live and online training, as these yield the most balanced effects on physical, physiological and mental levels.

But for those who are keen I am happy to show how to use these pleasant self massaging meditative movements as a prelude and preparation to do fancy ‘tricks’ like handstands and backflips etc.


You can see details of our forthcoming live online courses at our events page.



Yoga fundamentals / Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga / Therapeutic Applications of Posture, Movement and Breathing

Thanks to Carlisle Amlak and Zaplin Vermie for hosting us for the last 10 days at their beautiful retreat centre in Maine. It was a really amazing intensive with brilliant participants.

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