Learning to stand on your hands Yoga Poses is a lot like learning how to walk for the first time—it challenges your balance and works your muscles like nothing else can. Plus, it’s fun!
The secret to handstand—and any other balance on your hands or arms—is actually core strength. The limiting factor is almost never in your arms. (But if you feel like you want stronger arms, check out these yoga poses to help build your strength.) Plank is the best pose to work both arm and core strength all at once. Start on hands and knees. Step feet back so they are hip-width apart, keeping toes tucked and shoulders and wrists in line. Tuck chin slightly, keeping spine in line with body. Engage navel to spine and energetically reach back through heels while pushing through crown of head. Make sure shoulder blades are equally engaged down the back. Do not lock elbows. Breathe here for 30 seconds, then 40 seconds, then 50, then 1 minute.
Low boat pose is a great way to integrate the core in the same way required for a handstand. Come to a regular boat pose. Lower middle back toward the ground, pulling belly button to spine and keeping head and shoulders lifted off the ground. Lower legs—keeping them together—until feet are about 6 inches from the ground. Engage abdominal muscles and quadriceps, and breathe here for 5-10 deep breaths.
This pose is really just a handstand on your back. From low boat, reach arms overhead while reaching one leg straight up (so legs are at a 90-degree angle). Internally rotate thighs toward one another and reach long through toes. Flex through palms as if you are in a handstand and breathe here for 5-20 deep breaths. Repeat with the other leg.
Warrior three is a split leg or broken stick handstand on your foot. Begin in a standing position, then fold forward, walk hands underneath shoulders, and place them on the floor or blocks. Keeping knees soft, shift weight into left foot and lift right leg behind you. Reach through right heel and internally rotate right thigh down so toes point toward the ground. When you feel steady, lift arms and reach them forward on either side of the head to frame your face. Breathe here for 5-10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Standing split helps loosen up your hamstrings to allow for easier entry into a handstand. Begin in a standing forward bend with both hands on the ground. Transfer weight into left foot; lift right leg high. Point or floint toes towards the ceiling, and square hips as much as possible. Walk hands back in line with toes (on the floor or on blocks or as close to feet as feels comfortable) and drop head. Breathe here for 5-10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side. (If you have extra tight hamstrings, be sure to check out these yoga poses to help loosen them up.)