Handstands!

⋄ ◅ ◄ Join me for the #365handstands challenge on Instagram!


There is no pressure, no must - only fun and a very high potential for improvement and inspiration in and for your Handstand practice! Join a beautiful community of Handstanders around the globe and get the fun on!!!

 

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EVOLVE IN YOUR HANDSTANDS PRACTICE THROUGH PRIVATE SESSIONS!
 
Wenn Du gezielt an Deinem Handstand arbeiten möchtest, empfehle ich "Handstand-Privat-Stunden". Die erste (70 Minuten) kostet 100€ inklusive persönlichem Trainingsplan, jede weitere (60 Minuten) 90€. Zu zweit kostet die erste Stunde (70 Minuten) 150€ inklusive Trainingsplan, danach 120€ (60 Minuten).
 
Die Sessions können optional auch via Skype stattfinden.
Nach einem Handstand-Warmup, führe ich Dich durch Deinem Level entsprechende Übungen, die Deinen Handstand stärken und Dich mit neuen Variationen fordern. Am Ende der ersten Session schicke ich Dir/Euch einen auf Dich/Euch zugeschnittenen Trainingsplan zu.
 
Buchungen unter: lucie@acroyoga.org
 
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Find my new article published by the online-magazine PEPPERMYNTA about Handstands and a Hommage to my lovely Students here!
 
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Article about Handstands, written for the Australian blog EATABLE:
 
I love Handstands. 
 
Why? Cause they make me happy. And it makes me happy to teach Handstands, because it makes people feel strong and confident. 
 
When I did my first High Hand-to-Hand (a handstand on the hands of a standing base) I knew that I want to do it again and again - that I want to do exactly this. Suddenly a voice popped up in my mind saying: „How can you save the world by doing handstands???“ Fortunately I was strong enough to tell that voice to shut up. 
 
A few days later I was teaching an acro-class, and suddenly I knew how this changes my world, how this helps me to change the perspective not only for myself, but also for others. Experiencing something like the High Hand-to-Hand, which was out of my comfort zone taught me, that everything is possible. That I can be and become anything I want to be, and that I can pass on this attitude to others through teaching. As Ben Harpers sings: „I can change the world with my own two hands!" http://youtu.be/aEnfy9qfdaU
 
Handstands are like relationships. They are only working if you align yourself. If you have a clear mindset and dedication to the present moment. And of course it is a lot of fun to share the practice with a partner - either in partner acrobatics doing handstands on top of each other or simply supporting and coaching each other on your unique handstand-path. 
 
Why am I doing handstands? Cause it is FUN! In such a function-oriented society like the one we life in, it is especially important to do something simply for this reason: FUN! Play and get up-side-down like a child again - you can even do handstands during lunchbreak at work... Since our physical body is so much affected by our emotional body my motto is: "A Handstand a day keeps the doctor away.” 
 
How to train Handstand:
  • The beautiful thing is, that you don ́t really need any props. You just need your body, an even surface (at least in the beginning), some space and possibly a wall in your office or at home. Make sure that it is not a door opening to the other side and that the wall is stable enough to avoid crushing into your neighbors living room...
  • There is never a „stop“ to learning. No matter where you are in your handstands, there is always a next level. So once you learned to hold your handstand, you might try different shapes, train to stand on one hand or even on someone else ́s hands, on a chair or the back of a unicorn...
  • It is also good to mix up your training with different ways of doing it. Some of my most solid handstands I had happened when I was sick and couldn’t move at all, but I did powerful handstands in my imagination. The body follows our mind - find your mindset. Meditate about how you are standing in a handstand in a perfect shape.
  • Or just watch more experienced people doing it. Observing should never be underestimated. It widens our sense of what is possible and invites our body- brain-connection to just step through the door which has been opened by observing another person doing handstands.
  • Respect your emotional body! It does not make sense to work against it. If there is fear, just find a variation which picks you up and creates the space for your mind to relax. Ask for as much support as you need to feel confident enough to invert yourself! And remind yourself how strong you are before you go up there, instead of saying „i can’t do his.” or “I am too weak.” The same is true for coaching each other. The emotional empowerment is half of the handstand.
  • In general I always recommend to take workshops, classes or privates with an experienced teacher which is appropriate to your individual level. 

I can give a few tips in this article, but you need to see and experience it. Feedback is also incredibly valuable and there are as many unique feedbacks as there are handstands.

 
The beginning: 
When you start, it is all about getting aware of your hands and arms as a carrying foundation of your body. Most of the people only use their hands for typing at the computer or phone. Maybe also brushing teeth and holding the occasional cup of coffee. So...YES, you might feel your wrist when you start, because the muscles in our hands and forearms have to be built up step by step. But it should’t be and actually isn’t a reason to stop Handstands. 
 
Push-ups for sure help to strengthen the arms and shoulders. If you feel your wrists, just do them on fists for the time being, which will still strengthen your forearms. Push-ups on all fourths with lifting only the ball of the hands is a nice strengthening exercise for your hands and fingers. In the end all movement which is strengthening your arms is supporting you to feel save and solid to stand on them, so no matter if climbing, doing yoga or cross-fit, strong arms are the foundation to build up on. The only thing is, if you get strong most of the bodies also get tight. So stretching- along with strengthening exercises is key. 
 
The same is true for the rhythm of training: Properly timed resting days are not weakening, but actually strengthening, cause your shoulders and wrists are getting a proper chance at recovery and will be more energized once you stand on your hands again. 
 
And remember: If you don’t have a partner to train with, just take grandma’s picture off the wall for couple of minutes, dedicate your handstand-practice to her and create your own personal handstand-gym. Whenever your feel the call, just kick up, elongate your body through the tips of your toes, keep your belly/rips integrated to your core, relax your neck and breath. 
 
Hold it for 10 seconds in the beginning and set yourself new goals to hold it longer each week. There should be one day as a resting day per week at least. If you don’t feel comfortable kicking up, just turn with your beautiful bum facing the wall and walk up with your feet until you feel good holding it for a few seconds. Watch out not to arch in that one and keep your shoulders above your wrists! Ideally you want to bring your legs in a 90° angle to your core, which is a lot to hold in the shoulders in the beginning, so getting more straight is totally ok if it feels better. 
 
***
When we start to correct a handstand we always begin with the foundation, which are the hands on the floor, followed by elbows and shoulders. 
 
HANDS: Spread your fingers and bring your middle fingers parallel to each other. We want to stand on our hands, so we have to make them alive! Just imagine that your hands want to create a love-affair with the earth. If you would have color on your hands, you want to be able to see the handprint of your palm and finger pads on the floor if you lift them again. This also includes the knuckles of the palm. 
 
When you stand on your feet leaning forward and backwards, you might feel much more solid with leaning forward, since we have 10 little but clever friends supporting our body to balance = the toes. If we lean back, we might just roll over our heels. The same rule if we invert: just lean slightly towards your fingertips and they will become alive to keep you up there. Watch especially your „weaker hand“, since this might be the one less present once you start your handstand journey and this side has the tendency to hurt in the wrist then. So just give some special attention to this hand and awaken it with a juicy earth-connection. 
 
ELBOWS: Some say „turn your elbows to the front“, some say „turn them facing each other“. My tip - just try what feels good to your body and helps you feeling solid in a handstand. I learned mainly with the elbows facing each other and that ́s what my arms do automatically once I go up. For sure they should be straight unless you want to add Handstand-push-ups or transitions to other postures. 
 
SHOULDERS: The shoulders should be extended and just above the wrists, already when you are about to kick up. 
 
Going up step-by-step: 
  • Fingers spread, middle fingers parallel.
  • Shoulders over wrists.
  • Arms straight and extended all the way up to the core.
  • The rips are hugging towards the core, what we call „ a hollow body“.
  • The feet are in a narrow „down dog“ or an open standing forward bend (Uttanasana). Look down in between your thumbs. If you kick up, the foundation (hands, arms, shoulders) does not move! 
  • Feeling save: Once you kicked up, it is important to learn good and healthy ways to come down, instead of flipping over and maybe hurting your back or shoulders. These dismounts we call „bail-outs“ and is worth it to learn with a partner/teacher. 
Over all, there is a golden rule for handstands, called „ATB“: 
A = Alignment
T = Tightness
B = Balance
 
The most common way to do handstands is to kick up with the aim to stay up in the air immediately. But we are not aiming for the stars if we have not climbed the mountain yet. So find your alignment first, then add the tightness and in the end activate your balance. Why? Because to balance a straight, strong stick is much easier than to balance a cooked noodle. ATB should be practiced with a partner! 
 
ALIGNMENT: When you don ́t know what to say to your handstand-buddy while being in handstand, you can always say „more extension“ as a helpful feedback. The hands- on support can be a lift on the thighs or calfs upways, orientating on the axis of the handstander. Without a buddy, just push down with your hands into the floor, extend your arms (elbows in) all the way to the tip of your toes, being ready to tickle the sun. 
 
TIGHTNESS: Squeeeeeze your midline! Feel your center. The skeleton itself is pretty loose. It is the muscles, which make our body compact and integrated. The idea is to squeeze the legs and buttocks together, which is automatically activating the pelvic floor and like that also the center from within. To support the tightness as a coach, you can bring the hands in between the legs of your handstander and push them apart until we feel the counter-action - the push back towards the center. We want to awaken the awareness for the midline of the body, we don ́t want to weaken the inverted person. In the first two steps - Alignment & Tightness, you should keep your head neutral, since it makes it so much easier to find one line and avoid arching in the back. Just focus on A and T for now. 
 
BALANCE: Last but not least we focus on balance. And since this is the last step we always come back to Alignment and Tightness if we lost it, before we hold our free handstand. For balancing we gently lift the gaze to find a focus point with our eyes on the floor, in between our thumbs. And of course - lifting the head WITHOUT loosening the integration of our rips to our core. If you lost it, just bring your head back to neutral, integrate your rips back into hollow and then lift the head again. Yes, you can find balance without looking down, but for most of the people - especially in the beginning it is much easier to have a focus point, since the balance system of our body is linked to our eyes. If you are more advanced you should try to keep the head neutral or even balancing with closed eyes, which is a really nice sensation in your handstands.
 
Once you are standing in a handstand start to sing! Or just recite your favourite poem. This will help you to make your handstand alive = to breath. There might pop up some voices now sayin ́“but I learned it differently and I heard this about the feet flexing in handstands and so on...“.

I met many different amazing teachers along the path and they have many different ways to explain something and a different offer of technics. Overall your own personal journey is your destination and there are many ways into handstand-land.

JUST DO IT, put your feet up in the air and change your perspective!!! And yes, there are many more technics for kicking up, other inversions to prepare leg variations, more advanced handstand-postures and dynamic or controlled handstand-mounts. 
BUT this will be another article, since I need to go to the park now for doing what? 
 
► ▻ ⋄ HANDSTANDS.