Our Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher Tanya Rajfeld explains....

Unlike children, who seem to constantly be upside down, adults feel a little trepidation about going upside down and into a handstand. 

Most people find themselves worried about falling flat on their face or collapsing into a heap. What is it then that's changed? We lose our courage and certainly in my case we think too much and over analyse what we do!

In some yoga postures you have to have a leap of faith and believe that you can work towards doing the pose. Obviously there are certain postures such as extreme back bends and legs round the back of the head that may never be accessible to everyone, due to the simple mechanics of the body and the way they are made. Strength is also an important factor in determining if you have the ability to lift your body weight up and to hold it.

I have learnt that in order to get back your courage you simply have to believe in yourself, know that the universe is there to help you and practice regularly as it won't happen overnight. 

The best way to achieve a handstand is to break it down.  So start in Dolphin prep against the wall (downward facing dog with dolphin arms or DFD - feet by the wall). Then once you feel you are able to lift and press into the forearms, elbows should be tucked in like squeezing a beach ball and the gentle use of your shoulders so you do not collapse with your face on the floor. Once you have achieved this comfortably then you can try legs up the wall in an l-shape, then one leg raised in the air in the splits and one on the wall. 

From here, if this feels comfortable and safe, you can then perhaps move onto coming off-the forearms and into handstand with arms straight. So you can start again in DFD feet on the wall, into l-shape and eventually if everything is okay have your legs in splits. Finally practising with the wall, moving away the legs so they are straight. 

I am certainly no expert on handstand but feel that if you are able to play around with it and try different things to get into the feeling of being in a handstand, this is certainly good enough. Then you are able to understand and work on what needs to happen. I am sure the more you practice the easier it will get. Visualising yourself in handstand I find helps. 

Remember we all have that child within us so go on and give it a go, don't be scared. Enjoy!

Tanya is a British wheel teacher 500 hrs and teaches on Saturday mornings.

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