Digital Asana Project

Digital Asana Project: Practicing Handstand Away from the Wall

Many of us learned Adho Mukha Vrksasana, or Handstand, by kicking up at the wall. This is certainly a good and safe way to feel what it’s like to get upside-down. But the wall can become a crutch, and eventually we’ll want to learn how to do Handstand away from the wall, with the hope of one day seamlessly weaving in Handstands into the flow.

I’d like to demonstrate two methods that I used to learn how to get up into an unassisted Handstand. In this first video, I work with what one of my teachers calls a “Gorilla Jump”. I keep both knees bent when I jump, which compacts my body, and allows me focus on floating my hips over my shoulders and wrists, and to develop a feeling for what it’s like to get some “hang time”. Once I manage to balance on my hands, then I extend my legs straight towards the ceiling.

In this second video, I demonstrate a slightly more challenging way of learning how to do an unassisted Handstand. Notice how I leave one leg behind as a kind of counterbalance. The weight of this counterbalance leg keeps me from flipping over, and buys me some time to play with finding my balance. Once I’ve found my balance, then I bring the counterbalance leg up, and straighten out my Handstand.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified yoga instructor, and the ideas and opinions expressed here are not intended to be formal instruction on yoga poses. If you plan to start up a yoga practice, or if you have one and plan to do any of the yoga poses described in this blog, please seek out an experienced, living, breathing yoga teacher to guide you with hands-on instruction.

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10 thoughts on “Digital Asana Project: Practicing Handstand Away from the Wall

  1. Great videos and so informative. I am curious why who have not chosen to complete a Teacher’s Training? It seems you would have some gifts to share.

  2. Worked great. Like the other comment, I watched the video and at class used it to get up on the second try — very exciting. I still used the wall to catch, but pushed off for some hang time. My instructor was there as a confidence builder as well.

    Love the blog, finally found a great niche on the web for my interest.

  3. Hi Shakira,

    A good way to practice this is at the wall. If this isn’t working for you either, you might find someone to spot for you–i.e. literally hold you up so you don’t fall.

    Once you get up at the wall, you can practice tapping away from the wall and floating there for a second or two. Feel what it’s like to hold yourself in space using your fingers, arms and shoulders. This is what you need to engage in order to do the Gorilla jump freely in the middle of the room.

    Good luck!

  4. Just wondering what happens when you fall over? Been trying both the “gorilla jump” and kicking up against the wall but can’t seem to move away from the wall for fear of falling over. I know what to do when I fall over for pincha mayurasana and sirsasana thus able to do these poses in the middle of the room.

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