The picture of me above, to my surprise, is to this day my most liked, commented and shared picture on Instagram. I’ve seen pictures like the one above a few times on Instagram and Pinterest and  I was determined to try it out. I’m not entirely sure if this pose has a name, but for the sake of this blog and because I think it sounds pretty cool I will refer to it as the Magician’s handstand. Why magician? Well, because the goal of this pose it to create an illusion, one arm is up while the other is hidden (sorta). There are a couple key elements to score this pose:

  1. Shoulder and core strength; and,  
  2. Long hair.

Along with the fact that it looks pretty cool, it was something for me that required practice, I had the long hair but did not have quite the strength to hold myself up. With that said, I was determined to nail this pose. If you are looking to achieve a similar pose, here are a few exercises that helped me gain the strength to get it to where it is in this picture. Note that I still have a lot of progress left to do but getting that one arm off the ground and holding it is a feat in itself so cue the Rocky music.

  • Chaturanga also known as low plank is when your body is parallel to the ground and is supported by your toes and palms with your elbows at a right angle.  
    • Pose benefits:
      • Strengthens arm, shoulder and legs;
      • Develops core stability; and,
      • Prepares your body for arm balances and inversions.
  • Flow. Plank and hold for 10-15 sec, slowly lower down in control to your chaturanga and flow through an up dog to down dog, repeat the sequence.
  • Handstand wall walks. Also great practice for handstands, shoulder strength and core stability. Work on walking up and down the wall and enjoy the shoulder burn.
  • Down dog to dolphin pose and plank to chaturanga (up and down). This will work on your strength but most importantly your body positioning and weight distribution when you push up and down from each pose. When you push up with one arm try to keep your body straight, so not over rotating to your one arm pressing up.
  • Wall kick ups. This is a great all body exercise, it will ease you into feeling comfortable while upside down as well.
  • Practice. Find yoga streams and blogs for tricks and tips and practice a few times a week to build strength and confidence.
  • Trial and error is all part of the process. Even if you are strong expect to topple over because as much as there is strength your body positioning and center of balance plays a significant role in holding the pose.

Hope these tips help you like they did for me. If you have any suggestions for exercises to help with handstands, send them my way! Also check out a yoga blog I follow http://www.laurasyoga.ca there are some great tricks and tips for inversions and strength building that were quite useful for me.

Posted by:Emilie Breuvart

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