Welcome to my 30-Day Handstand Challenge. Over the next month I will post a handstand drill and a handstand variation for you to work on. For a quick view of this, follow my Instagram posts (@yogigoup). Here on my website, I'll go into more detail for each drill and handstand variation. 

Have someone take a photo of your handstand variation, or set up your smart phone and take a quick selfie. Post it to your Instagram or Facebook account so we can cheer each other on. Use the hashtag #30dayhandstandchallenge. Ask me questions along the way!

My hope is that you will become more comfortable with handstand, no matter what your current level is. The more you set aside time to practice proper alignment in handstand, the more progress you'll make. Focus on the journey and not the destination.

Day 1

Wrist Flexibility and Hand Stability

Spend at least 5 minutes warming up your wrists, fingers and forearms, all of which are the foundation of your handstand. We always build the pose from the ground up. *Note: the videos of these drills are on high-speed. 

  • Wrist flexion and extension: From all fours (keep elbows straight) bring inner wrists to touch, palms down and spread the fingers, move shoulders side to side; flip palms to the sky, middle fingers touching, and continue side to side shoulder movement. 
  • Plank pose: Maintain full body engagement (knees can be on the ground), and begin with shoulders over wrists and heels over toes. Shift entire body forward and back by moving onto tippy toes to bring shoulders forward and then pressing heels back. Do 3 rounds of 10 shifts forward and back. Stretch wrists by making a fist, curling the fist inward, and using the other hand to pull the wrist away from the hand.
  • Forearm strengthening: Lift arms above the head (think handstand arms - press hands to the ceiling) and quickly open and close the hands. Go for at least 30 seconds. Shake it out.
  • Downward dog (not shown in video): Focus on hand placement - shoulder-width distance apart, pressing the floor away; engage the back muscles; grip the fingers like a cat!

Kick Up to the Wall

  • First stand in tadasana (mountain pose). Notice the full body engagement as you press all four corners of your feet into the mat; squeeze the muscles of the legs (engage the quadriceps and glutes); neutralize your spine and slightly draw the tailbone to the earth as you lift your pubic bone toward the belly button; expand the chest and upper back. Now reach your arms above your head (do not let the frontal ribs flare) and press upwards while actively drawing the shoulders down to create shoulder stability. THIS IS YOUR HANDSTAND BODY!
  • Set up about a palms-length away from the wall. Kick up so both legs are on the wall. If kicking up is a challenge, use a bolster or extra rolled-up yoga mat to press the back of your head against. 
  • Once your legs are up the wall, bend one knee or both knees slightly. Continue to press into your hands - do NOT buckle your elbows. Draw your frontal ribs in to get out of "banana back" in order to create a straighter line. Straighten one leg to the sky. Squeeze your quads and glutes. Work on lifting both legs off the wall if possible. 
  • Stay as long as is comfortable.

Day 2

Shoulder flossing

Shoulder flexion is one of the necessary components of a stable handstand. Being able to lift your arms above your head without flaring your frontal ribs will help you obtain a vertical line upside down. Here's one of my fave ways to warm up the shoulders and increase shoulder flexibility.

  • Shoulder flossing to increase shoulder flexion by using a strap (a belt or towel will work too). Take a wide grip on the strap, and reach the arms overhead and behind you, then back forward. If you get stuck halfway, widen your grip. Do NOT let the elbows buckle or allow one shoulder to lead the movement. Pull both arms back evenly without hiking the shoulders or flaring the ribs.
  • Do the same movement at a wall. Feet slightly away from the wall, shoulder-width grip on the strap, and the spine flat against the wall (draw your tailbone down and lift your pubic bone up). Avoid frontal rib flare as you reach your straight arms upward. Attempt to touch your fists to the wall (it’s okay if they do not touch...do not over-effort and sacrifice proper alignment). 

L-shape at the wall

  • Sit down with feet against the wall. Measure the distance of your legs from the wall to your hips.
  • Place hands where hips were seated, and walk your legs up the wall parallel to the ground (no higher).
  • Press into your hands , widen your upper back while pushing your chest to the wall. Contract your abs to regain spinal alignment (no banana back). Hold about 30 seconds. Repeat often 😊

Join the handstand challenge at any time! Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for daily handstand drills and variations.

Day 3

It's no surprise that the core plays a huge role in handstand. A strong core (both the abdominals and the lower back muscles) help to stabilize your inversions. I really like frog hops, especially as this is the first handstand variation where I found balance. Finding balance in a frog hop comes a little more easily due to the lower center of gravity and balanced weight on both sides of the body (with the legs bent outward). It's also a great way to increase the heart rate! 

Supta Baddha Konasana Crunches

  • Lie down for #suptabaddhakonasana (knees wide, soles of the feet together).
  • Draw ribs downward, and slightly tilt the pelvis so lower back reaches toward the mat.
  • Lift feet/knees off the mat, but keep feet connected and knees wide. Lift head and shoulders off the ground, interlace fingers and reach hands toward legs. Pulse up (x30). Do three sets

Frog Hops

  • Legs in the same position as in the drill above.
  • Move shoulders over the wrists as you press hands into the ground.
  • Keep knees wide and feet together and hop up so that hips are above the shoulders. Use the wall if needed; try to get your tailbone to touch the wall.
  • Do not forget about your core! Tightening up the core will help you find stability.
  • Do 3 sets of 5-10 hops. Don’t rush. Use the breath - exhale and contract the abs, then hop, inhale as you return feet to the mat. If you catch airtime, steady your breath and hold.

Join the handstand challenge at any time! Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for daily handstand drills and variations.

Day 4

More core! But this time, you are also engaging the quads and working on pulling the femur bones into their sockets so you can find balance in an L-shape handstand hop. Take your time with both the abdominal work and the L-shape hops. 

L-Shape "Crunches"

  • These are a great addition to your practice/workout anytime (even if handstand is not on your agenda)! I like to hold a block between my hands and actively press my arms away from my body (essentially creating “handstand arms”).
  • Start with one leg lifted to the ceiling, and one leg hovering above the ground. Arms straight behind you. 
  • Elevate head and shoulders ONLY if you want more challenge and you’re able to keep your mid- and lower back down. 
  • Avoid putting your hands under your hips! It’s important to build abdominal strength, so it’s more beneficial to lift your lower leg to a higher angle if you find your back is arching off the ground. 
  • Reach hands to top foot, return to starting position.
  • Lower top leg to meet bottom, then lift back up.
  • Repeat x 5 (these are tough if done slowly and correctly!)
  • Do the other leg.

L-Shape Handstand Hops

  • Create the same shape you just did on your back, but this time on your hands!
  • Notice before I hop, I realign my hips (super important to enter handstand hops with level hips).
  • Hop off standing leg and do your best to keep legs apart in an L-shape.
  • Do NOT rush to lift your lower leg up into a full handstand. First find balance with the legs in an “L.”
  • Hop 3-5 times, then try to find balance in the last hop.

    Join the handstand challenge at any time! Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for daily handstand drills and variations.

    Day 5

    Handstand requires a lot of shoulder stability. The scapula (or shoulder blades) must be protracted, which means the shoulders are drawing away from one another and the upper back is wide. Today's drill helps you to zone in on the muscular strength needed to create stability in the shoulder girdle.

    Block Press

    • Hold a block between your hands, and protract your shoulder blades (draw the shoulder blades apart). 
    • Do NOT retract shoulder blades (draw scapula toward the spine)! I show the difference between the two at the beginning of the video.
    • Actively press the block away with protracted shoulder blades, hold for 5 breaths; then lift halfway up, hold again; and then all the above the head (set gaze to the block) and hold again.
    • Reverse the movement, lowering slowly halfway down to hold, and then back to the starting position.
    • Repeat x 5 (these are tougher than they look!)

    Face-the-Wall Handstand

    • Walk legs up the wall, bring your hands as close to the base of the wall as possible.
    • Squeeze the quads, glutes and draw belly button and frontal ribs in (no banana back)! Front body is NOT touching the wall. Create a vertical line.
    • Press into your hands and continue to protract the shoulder blades!
    • Stay as long as possible but reserve enough energy to walk yourself off the wall, or cartwheel to the side to come out of this pose.

    Join the challenge at any time! Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for more handstand drills and variations!

    Day 6

    Hamstring flexibility is necessary for handstands. At some point our goal is to get both legs straight up to the sky, and tight hamstrings generally inhibit straight legs. Today's drill is active forward folds, both standing and seated. We'll do more hamstring work as the challenge progresses, but this is a great starting point.

    Forward Folds

    • Standing forward fold: Let the body hang heavy over the legs. Bend the knees if the hamstrings are tight or less mobile. Press hands to the floor if you can keep the legs straight without hyperextending the knees, or use a block under the hands to support the pose.
    • Forward fold at the wall: Allow the upper back to press against the wall as you push the feet downward and straighten the legs a little or a lot, depending on your body.
    • Seated Forward Fold: Sit next to the wall (this will help set you up for the handstand variation). Walk hands along legs but keep the spine extended. Go only as low as you can with the backs of the legs pressing into the mat.

    L-shape lift-off at the wall

    • If the L-shape we did a couple days ago was challenging for you, repeat that variation. Work on pressing into your hands, which is crucial in getting one leg up to the ceiling.
    • If you are ready to try this variation, keep the abs super strong as you lighten one foot from the wall. Reach it skyward. Switch sides.
    • Continue to work on alternating lifted legs.
    • To go for more, extend one leg upward and start to shift your hips away from the wall until your other foot lightens from the wall.
    • Your foot may tap back to the wall as you play with balance.
    • If you are fearful of falling, do not attempt to lift your foot off the wall just yet, and check in for tomorrow’s handstand variation…where we will learn to fall.

    Join the challenge at any time. Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for more drills and variations.✨

    Day 7

    If you haven't yet noticed, strong and flexible shoulders are crucial for handstands. The strength drill today is one of my favorite sequences to teach and practice. Try not to rush the chaturanga push-ups. I consider chaturanga fundamental for all arm balances. We are also learning how to fall out of handstand via carthweel. Okay, I know this will be super scary for many of you, so if you aren’t ready for this, repeat one of the previous variations. And don’t sweat it. I understand your trepidation. This was my biggest fear when I moved away from the wall. It takes confidence to fall. Be patient with your journey. But remember, the more you get away from the wall, the more you'll be able to find balance instead of relying on the wall for support. 

    Chaturanga Strength Work

    • Start in plank pose, lower to chaturanga (elbows by the side body - NOT winging to the sides or digging into the ribs). Modify by putting your knees on the ground.
    • Push back up to plank pose (knees lifted).
    • Bend the knees, press into the hands and push the body back, bringing the butt to the heels. This will look like a deep-bent-knee downward dog. Keep the arms straight and upper back wide to work on shoulder flexion.
    • Return to the starting position in plank pose and repeat 5 times.

    Falling out of Handstand

    • If you are ready to move away from the wall and possibly fall out of your handstand, first make sure you are in a safe space (ie. nothing around you to fall onto).
    • Make sure you are AWAY from the wall! Do not try to use the wall and also practice how to fall...it’s dangerous and doesn’t make sense. A soft landing zone (carpeted floor or grass field, etc) is also a plus.
    • I prefer to fall out of handstand by cartwheeling out. Others who have a lot of mobility in their spine and flexibility in their shoulders can easily drop into wheel pose as a way to exit handstand. If you are new to handstand, I recommend the cartwheel option.
    • When you feel yourself losing balance, first try not to panic. It is important to keep your elbows straight and push the hands firmly into the ground. If you let the elbows to bend, you’ll collapse. Also, keep the legs straight, and let them fall to the side. You may need to lift and move a hand as you spin out. The idea is to land firmly on your feet, NOT your beautiful face. Good luck!

    Join the handstand challenge anytime. Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for more drills and variations!

    Day 8

    Mobility in the hip flexors will be helpful in achieving today's handstand, which I call the "Single Knee Tuck." The closer you can get your knee to your chest, the better chance you'll have to get upside down in this pose. What I like about this handstand variation is that, (similarly to the L-shape handstand), it prevents you from falling out instantly. By keeping one leg in front of the body and the other reaching upward, the legs counterbalance each other. The drills will help to increase the hip flexor mobility, and of course, they are great for the abs!

    Core and Hip Flexor Strengthener

    Drill 1:

    • Start in plank pose, bring one knee into the chest and hold for 5 breaths. Try to get the knee very close to the chest while keeping the hips in line with the shoulders.
    • For more challenge, stay in the pose and tap your toes close to the hands (x5).
    • Rest in dowdog or child’s pose before doing the other side.

    Drill 2:

    • Lie on your back and bring one knee over the hip. Lift the opposite leg hover off the floor. Keep the feet flexed.
    • Make sure to contract the abdominals, while keeping both side bodies equally long (do not collapse toward the bent-knee side).
    • Lift your head and shoulders off the mat, and reach your hands toward your feet. Hold and breathe deeply for 5 breaths.
    • For more challenge, pulse the upper body up (x5-10). If the lower back is bothering you, lift the lower leg higher, OR bend the knee of the lower leg and place the foot down.  
    • Finally, do a set of 10-15 Pilates-style knee pulls. 
    • If the neck is fatiguing throughout any of these exercises, rest your head on the ground.

    Single Knee Tuck Handstand

    • These are similar to the L-shape handstand hops we did previously. However, instead of keeping both legs straight, one leg is bent into the chest.
    • To hop up: take a shorter downward dog and lift one leg to the sky. 
    • Bend the “hopping knee” to get a little momentum to lift off. Make sure to keep the other leg straight. Don’t forget about pushing the floor away with your hands and tightening up the abs. Go for 5 hops. Then switch legs. 
    • If you catch air time, stay in the single knee tuck handstand rather than rushing to straighten the other leg to the sky. We are aiming for balance!

    Join the handstand challenge anytime. Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for more drills and variations!

    Day 9

    Engaged glutes and quads will help you to achieve a vertical line in handstand. You want to be able to squeeze the quads and glutes tightly to distribute the effort across the body. The handstand lift-off from furniture will help you to stack your hips over your shoulders - the taller the furniture is the easier it is to stack your shoulders. Make sure you have an exit strategy if trying to lift-off completely. As in previous variations, do not be in a rush to lift the other leg to the sky just yet.

    Quads & Glutes Strength Work

    Drill 1:

    • Squats! I like to use a resistance band to engage my leg muscles more. If using a band, place it mid-thigh. Of course, you can add weights too.
    • In these squats, my feet are slightly wider than my hips, but my knees always point forward. Keep the weight into your heels as you sit back into the squat, with knees over hips.
    • Squat as deeply as possible with an extended spine. Go for 3 sets of 25 squats.

    Drill 2:

    • Set up on all fours: keep the resistance band around the mid-thigh.
    • Strengthen the glutes and hamstrings by lifting the bent leg up, pushing the heel upward. 3 sets of 15 lifts on each leg.

    L-shape Lift-off from furniture

    • Note: I’m using a chair in the video, but recommend using a couch/heavy ottoman/table as they will be much more stable.
    • Place your feet on the furniture (toes tucked) and your hands on your mat. Press into your hands and stack your shoulders over your wrists.
    • Then lift your hips over your shoulders and straighten both legs as much as possible.
    • Begin to reach one leg up toward the ceiling and hold.
    • Keep shifting the hips over the shoulders, and squeeze the quads and glutes of the lifted leg. You may find that your other foot begins to lighten or lift off the furniture. If you catch airtime, hold the L-shape.
    • Be careful exiting this pose as to not crash into the furniture.😊

    Join the challenge any time. Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for more handstand drills and variations.✨

    Day 10

    We are going back to the wall to practice tuck jumps (or tuck handstand) today. Getting your knees tight into your chest is essential in holding a tuck handstand. In the video, we use a bolster to support us as we get the hips over the shoulders and up to the wall. If you are confident without the wall, move into the middle of the room to practice tuck jumps, and try to balance in the tuck handstand for 5 breaths. 

    Today’s video is thanks to the help of yoga teacher, Mark Quijano.

    Plank Tucks

    • Start in plank pose, placing your toes on a towel, (you can also wear socks).
    • Slowly draw the knees into the chest, keeping the hips in line with the shoulders.
    • Then just as slowly, push the feet back into full plank pose.
    • Repeat 5-10 times. Use core engagement and NOT momentum!

    Tuck Handstand at the wall

    • Use a bolster if you have one, or you can also use a large couch cushion or a rolled up yoga mat.
    • Press the back of the head into the bolster. Make sure your shoulders move forward of the wrists.
    • Bend the knees into the chest as you come up onto the tippy toes, and then hop to get the hips over the shoulders.
    • Take several hops, keeping the thighs glued into the chest. If you catch balance, hug the upper arm bones toward each other and hold the pose (think: cannon ball shape in the legs).
    • If you still struggle to get your hips up over the shoulders, not to worry… press into the hands, and focus on lifting the hips higher with each hop.
    • Tip: exhale the breath, and draw the belly button to the spine before you lift-off.

    Join the challenge at anytime. Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for more drills and variations!

    Day 11

    Today's drill helps to increase shoulder flexion. It's a great stretch for everyone (even if you are not aiming for handstand). It is especially helpful for those who do a lot of sitting over computers or driving, as it counters their habitual movements of rolling the shoulders inward. The handstand variation is meant to help you get upside down with a lot of support (two walls on either side). The only caution is getting into and out of this variation as space is most likely quite limited for a kick-up. So take your time walking up and down the wall in order to get all the way upside down.

    Blocks for Increased Shoulder Flexion

    • Place your elbows on two blocks set up on medium height. Make sure the center of the elbows is on the blocks; do not roll onto outer or inner elbows.
    • Move knees back so your body moves into extension/puppy dog pose.
    • Bring your hands together in prayer, and draw your thumbs toward the nape of your neck.
    • Be mindful about not making this all about spinal extension, and letting the thoracic spine dip down too much. Instead, continue to draw the frontal ribs upward as you simultaneously press the chest downward. This seems like two opposing cues, but try it and you’ll understand.😊
    • If you want to deepen this pose, grab another block between the hands and draw the block back toward the spine.

    Handstand in a Hallway

    • Set your hands up on the floor halfway in the hallway. If you have a wide enough doorway, you can also use that in this handstand variation.
    • Walk your legs up the wall; or, if you have space, you can kick up.
    • Once the legs are all the way up, allow one leg to reach to the opposite wall (don’t worry, the wall will catch you).
    • Try to play with balance, lifting one leg off the wall, putting it back, then lifting the other.
    • If you get both legs off the walls, hold as long as possible. If you lose balance, don’t freak out! Keep the arms straight and rebalance the legs on the walls.
    • Be careful coming out of the pose. Walk your legs down the wall back to the floor, or cartwheel to the side.

    Join at anytime. A new handstand variation and drill is posted daily. Find me on Instagram @yogigoup!

    Day 12

    Today, we are stretching our hamstrings while also strengthening our quadriceps. Strong quads and mobile hamstrings will help you to get into, and stay in, handstand. The drill is a pose you often do in a yoga class. The handstand variation helps use to get used to the feeling of bringing the hips over the shoulders. Plus it's a really great way to get the heart rate up.

    Standing Leg Lifts

    • Use a strap around one foot for the standing leg raise. If you can grab the big toe without the strap, but still keep the leg and arm straight, go for it; I show this variation in the video as well.
    • Keep the hips level and aim to lift the leg up to hip height without leaning back.
    • Squeeze the quads of both legs, and press through the heel of the lifted leg to stretch the hamstrings.
    • Then, raise both arms overhead and pulse the lifted leg to the sky to work on strengthening the quads. Pull the lower belly in, and keep the shoulders over the hips.

    Switch-kick Hops

    • I’ll admit these used to scare me when I practiced them in the middle of the room. If you feel more comfortable at a wall, set up there, but give yourself a little space to catch balance and not hit the wall.
    • Start in a shorter downward dog or a more spacious forward fold with hands firmly planted; then, lift one leg up.
    • Hop off the standing leg, and once both legs are in the air, switch the legs so you land on the opposite leg.
    • Go for several hops, trying to get the hips over the shoulders. Take your time with these - they can be fatiguing.
    • Try to slow down the hops, so you can control the ascent and descent.

    Join at anytime. A new handstand variation and drill is posted daily. Find me on Instagram @yogigoup!

    Day 13

    Handstand isn't just about throwing your legs in the sky, there are so many components to keep you stable and injury free. In handstand, the shoulders are externally rotated, protracted and adducted. This drill works all these ranges of motion. If your shoulders are very broad, a block may not be the appropriate size. You can still do the exercise, either without the block (but you must activate the shoulders!) OR with a yoga strap to support the upper arms.

    Shoulder Adduction and Engagement

    • Start on all fours. Place a block between your upper arms. Squeeze the block to reinforce shoulder adduction, drawing upper arm bones toward one another. This will also protract the shoulders (draw the scapula apart).
    • Bend your elbows to the mat, but don’t touch down. Grip with the fingers and keep squeezing the block tightly between the arms.
    • For more challenge, do this in downward dog. By lowering the elbows toward the mat you are creating the pose known as turbo dog, which is a great way to engage the shoulder muscles that support handstand.
    • This is a super helpful drill for pincha mayurasana (forearm stand). If you are new to practicing this inversion, you can place the block inside the triads of the hands, and continue to hug the arms toward each other.

    Face-the-Wall Handstand Variation

    • Earlier in this challenge, we practiced face-the-wall handstand (day 5), where our bodies were mere inches from the wall. Now we will move further away, but still walk the feet all the way up.
    • Once upside down, get your shoulders and hips back over the wrists and lift one leg off the wall.
    • Stay here, or lift both legs up. If this seems frightening, work in the hallway as we did in one of the previous variations (day 11).

    Join the challenge anytime. Follow me @yogigoup on Instagram for more handstand tips!

    Day 14

    It's leg day (again)! Today we are working on Pistol Squats, or in my case, the "supported" version. These are really tough for me. I can do them with the assistance of TRX suspension straps, but wanted to also show a more accessible drill that you can do without any equipment, or with just a chair. Why work on these? They help to increase strength and mobility in the hip flexors, and are also a great way to power up the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps. If you can do the unsupported variation of pistol squats, go for it! Keep in mind ankle flexion is necessary to get the body all the way down to the floor.

    Pistol Squat Prep

    • Lift one leg in front of you, without leaning back (keep shoulders over hips).
    • Bend into your standing leg and lower your hips to get as low as possible. If using the chair, try to lower so your lifted foot touches the chair.
    • Be mindful that you don’t just lower the leg toward the chair, but rather work the strength of your hip flexors and hamstrings by descending your entire body.
    • Lift back up, squeezing your quads and glutes. Repeat as many times as you can with good form. In the video, you can see my mobility imbalance: my left hip flexor and hamstrings are definitely weaker than those on my right side, thus I can’t lower as far.

    TRX Pistol Squats

    • Try to get as low as possible in the pistol squats, keeping the weight into your standing heel. Deep ankle flexion is needed for this exercise.
    • The TRX makes this squat more accessible as you can use the strength of the arms to lower and lift, but do your best to make the legs do the majority of the work. I like to alternate the Pistol Squats with a Supported Warrior 3. Go for 3 sets of 10.

    Day 14: Single Knee Tuck at Wall

    • This is a variation of L-shape at the wall (if you need a review of this pose, look back to Day 2 of the challenge).
    • Once you get both legs straight, bend one knee into the chest and hold.
    • Play with lightening the other foot from the wall to find balance. Hold and breathe!
    • To advance this handstand, press into your hands and engage the abs as you pull the opposite leg into a tuck position. You can hold tuck handstand or begin to reach the legs skyward to find a vertical line. As always, stay safe going up and coming down!

    Follow me for more handstand drills and variations (@yogigoup on Instagram).

    Day 15

    We revisit shoulder protraction, which we started to work on Day 5. In handstand, you want to actively push your hands downward while widening across the upper back and energetically adducting the upper arms. It's a lot to think of, but it will all fall into place. So in today's drill we are working shoulder protraction and retraction and adding in core work. Thanks to my yoga student/friend and boxing coach, Ilissa, for being my model. Enjoy!

    Protraction/Retraction Work!

    • Start on all 4s. Draw the shoulder blades together (retraction) and then press into your hands and pull the shoulder blades apart (retraction). Notice the subtle movement of the spine as you do this. In the video, I reference mid-spine, but to be clear I mean the upper thoracic (or mid-spine) is actively moving upward in protraction and downward in retraction.
    • Be careful not to let your frontal ribs and belly sag when you retract the shoulder blades. This exercise is very different than cat/cow poses. Keep the chest open and the head level (cervical spine long).
    • To make this harder, lift your knees to a hovering tabletop and continue to protract and retract the scapula.
    • Still need more challenge? Add the plank walk out as instructed in the video.

    One-minute Handstand at-the-wall

    • Note: the video is on high speed (6 times faster than real time)
    • Set a timer. Kick up to the wall. Allow the feet to touch, but make sure to get out of “banana back” - check Day 1 for a refresher on this
    • Once you are up, activate the hands by gripping the fingers; engage the shoulders by protracting the scapula and pushing the floor away; tighten up the core; squeeze the quads and butt; and breathe!
    • Stay for one minute! Longer if you have it in you...and celebrate afterward!

    Join the challenge at any time. Follow @yogigoup on Instagram for more drills and variations!

    Day 16

    We've more than halfway through our challenge! Now we have the basic tools of handstand to know how to get upside down, so let's start playing with different leg variations. In today's variation we are challenging ourselves with widening the legs. This means you've got to stretch out the muscles required for this action. Take your time with the stretches - I would recommend holding each stretch for at least 5-10 ujjayi breaths (I did not in the video to keep it concise). 

     Hamstring and Adductor Stretches

    • Wide-legged Forward Fold or Prasarita Padottanasana to stretch the hamstrings.
      • Take a wide stance, press into the outer edges of the feet, and fold forward with an extended spine. If hammies are tight, soften the knees. To deepen, drop the crown of the head toward the mat, and lift the sits bones skyward.
    • Bound Angle Pose or Badha Konasana to externally rotate the hips and stretch the adductors.
      • Sit down, and bring the soles of the feet together with the knees apart. Extend the spine and anteriorly tilt the pelvis (do not round the back), as you draw the sternum forward. To lessen the intensity, take the feet further away from the pubic bone. To deepen the pose, bring the feet closer and lower upper body to the mat.
    • Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold or Upavistha Konasana to stretch the hamstrings and adductors.
      • Sit down, and widen the legs but keep the knees and toes facing up. Extend the spine and pull the chest forward as you fold. If your lumbar spine rounds, stay more upright and work on anteriorly tilting the pelvis. To deepen the pose, grab your big toes and bring your chin to the mat.

    Wide-Legged Handstand 

    • *Note: the first two variations are on high-speed in the video. 
    • Frog Hop to the wall (use a bolster to press the back of the head into, if needed). Once you get upside down, widen the legs, trying to point knees and toes downward. The tailbone may rest against the wall for support, or you can keep it lifted off the wall for more challenge. 
    • Face-the-Wall Wide-Legged Handstand (make sure your aren’t too close to the wall - aim for a forearm’s distance away). Once you’ve walked your legs halfway up the wall, widen the legs, pointing the toes and knees downward. Do not “banana back” – protract your shoulder blades and draw your frontal ribs away from the wall.
    • If you are ready to get away from the wall, take a frog hop and catch your balance. Then widen the legs apart, squeezing quadriceps and lifting sits bones upward.

    Join the challenge! Follow me on Instagram @yogigoup for more tips and drills!

    Day 17

    Let's really focus on our hand and shoulder strength today. The drill is a great way to understand how much strength is needed to get yourself upside down. You'll continue working on shoulder protraction as you tighten up your core. In the handstand variation, we will be working on controlled single-leg hops. This requires a lot of arm strength and the ability to slow down the landing, by keeping the shoulders over the wrists, and not allowing them to move too far forward or stay too far back.

    Press Handstand Prep

    • Start on all fours. Protract your scapula – look back to previous posts if you need a reminder on how to do this.
    • Step your feet back to plank. Tighten up your plank by pressing into the hands, hugging upper arm bones toward each other, drawing the belly button to the spine, tilting the tailbone toward the heels, and squeezing the leg muscles. Hold 5 breaths.
    • Step your feet a little bit closer into a short downward facing dog, and keep pressing into your hands and pulling the shoulder blades apart from each other. Hold 5 breaths. 
    • Continue to walk up closer to the hands without lifting the palms off the ground.
    • Once you get the feet as close to the hands as possible, (basically in a forward fold), keep pressing hands down and lift onto the tippy toes. Reach your hips above your shoulders. Hold 5 breaths. Repeat 3 times.

    Three-Legged Dog Hops (I actually don’t know what these are called, so I made up the name)

    • Start in downward dog, lift one leg up. Keep the hips level and set your gaze between your hands.
    • Bend into the standing knee, tighten the core and hop up, landing on the same leg. (*Note: these are different than the Switch-Kick Hops we did earlier in the challenge.)
    • Once you land your foot close to your hands, then hop back to the starting point and repeat 3-5 times. Do the other side.
    • It’s OK if your foot does not travel very far in the hops. Work on trying to get your hips over your shoulders each time. Keep the hands actively pressing down as you did in the drill (video above). If you are comfortable with these hops, aim to control the landing, and see if can catch airtime.

    Join the challenge! Follow me for more tips and drills to get comfortable on your hands!

    Day 18 

    Two confessions:

    1) I don't really like boat pose, which is today's drill. It's really tough for me to lower gracefully (as you might notice in the video) and I have to really work on drawing my low belly in and pressing my lumbar to the mat.

    2) The handstand variation today is really a drill. But it does move most of the weight of the body into the hands so I am counting it as the handstand-of-the-day. If you're working on press handstand, do this handstand drill! It gets your hips up, engages the legs and activates the core -- so much goodness!

    High-Low Boat

    • This pose can be challenging for many, especially if you have hip flexor immobility, or low back discomfort. If this is your case, support yourself with your hands behind you, or place the toes down and lean the upper body back until you feel your abs engage.
    • To do the full pose, lift the legs and arms forward, but be mindful to keep the chest lifted and the spine extended.
    • The legs do NOT have to be straight; you can keep the shins parallel to the ground. Be mindful to not let your spine round.
    • If your low back isn’t bothering you, lower to low boat, pressing the spine down to the mat, but keeping the head and legs hovering. For more challenge, keep the shoulders hovering too.
    • Lift back up to high boat. Repeat as many times as possible with good form.

    Downdog Toe-Wrist Taps

    • Use one or two yoga blocks. Come into downward facing dog with one foot on the block(s), lift the other leg up.
    • Press into your hands, keep arms and both legs straight, and shift the shoulders toward the fingers so you lift onto your toes as you pull your lifted leg toward your wrist. If possible, tap the wrist with your toes.
    • Try to get your hips as far over your shoulders as possible. If it is challenging to do this without bending the knees or lifting the palms, lengthen your downward dog stance.
    • For a more challenging drill, do the same work as before but just shorten your stance and downward dog. **The shorter the stance, the more challenging this becomes.
    • Finally, if you are working toward press handstand, see if you can come into more of a forward fold with your feet still on the block and palms flat on the ground. Engage the abdominals and float both feet off the block and land them on your wrists. Hold as long as possible.

    Join the challenge! Follow me on Instagram @yogigoup for check back for more handstand drills and tips.

    Day 19

    We are starting to get into some funky stuff...in fact, I call today's handstand variation "Funky Handstand"! But I think the rest of the yoga world knows it as "Stag Handstand." Before you start sweating, I want you to know that it looks harder to do than it is. The center of gravity is lower when the knees are bent (that's why holding a tuck handstand often happens more easily than a straight vertical line handstand). Before we get upside down, I offer a drill to set the quads on fire! It's a great way to increase quadricep strength, and much harder to do than it appears. So bottom line: today's drill is tougher than it looks, today's handstand is not as tough. It all evens out!

    Quad Strength Work

    • Grab a yoga block (or large book) and sit in dandasana (staff pose). Press your hands down on the mat next to your hips. Lengthen the spine and be careful not to flex (round) the lower back.
    • Move one leg out to the side and place the block on its medium height about a palm’s length away from the other leg. Keep your shoulders over your hips and both legs straight.
    • Lift the leg (that is off to the side) over the block, tapping the heel down on either side of the block.
    • Be careful not to let the spine round and do not lean back in the upper body. Engage your abs and use the strength of the quads and hip flexors to lift the leg over the block. Keep the legs straight!
    • For more challenge, turn the block to its highest level. For less challenge, flip the block to its lowest level. I show both these options. Go for one minute on each leg.

    Stag or Funky Legs (or the beginnings of...)

    • Use the wall to take an L-shaped handstand, which we previously practiced (check back to earlier posts).
    • Once you’re in the L-shape, press one leg firmly into the wall, and lift the other skyward.
    • Work on holding this pose. Then add a little hip flexor/quad strength work by drawing your knee in toward your chest and then straightening it back up to the sky.
    • Finally, lengthen the leg upward and bend the knee , so the knees stays up to the sky and the foot points down. Tighten up your core!
    • You may feel like you are going to flip over, but the more you press the foot into the wall and grip the hands into the mat, the less likely this will happen.
    • If you’d like to try this variation away from the wall, hop up into an L-shaped handstand, and catch your balance.
    • Then slowly bend your knees and hold.
    • For the last variation, work on bending and extending the knees in order to challenge your balance and work on glute and quad strength. Good luck!

    Day 20

    Today's core exercise also fires up the arms and shoulders! It's a great drill to improve your press handstand, and it helps with our handstand variation today, which is more of a handstand transition. I call it a transition because you will be working on floating into chaturanga from a forward fold. This is super challenging and something I'm still working on. I show another variation, in which I use a block, on my Instagram feed @yogigoup. Thanks to my student, Ami, for her help and hard work doing this video (turn the sound up on the video for the tutorial). Let's get playful!

    Towel Pike Press

    • Start on all fours, with toes tucked on a towel. Protract your shoulder blades.
    • Lift the knees and push the legs back to plank pose.
    • Press through your hands, hugging upper arms toward each other, and drag your feet toward your hands so the hips lift up to the sky in a pike position.
    • Return to your starting position. Avoid using momentum to pull the legs into pike. Repeat 5-10 times.

    Floating in Sun Salutations

    • Word of caution: if chaturanga jumpbacks are challenging for you, first work on a straight hop up (ie. tuck jumps) to get hips above shoulders.
    • To work on the float back: from a forward fold, move your hands a palm’s length forward of the toes. Keep the hands shoulder-width distance apart.
    • Shift the weight into the fronts of your feet. Press into your hands and hop up, aiming to get the hips over the shoulders.
    • Move through a vinyasa.
    • From downward dog, set the gaze between the hands, bend the knees and tighten the core.
    • Hop up, aiming to lift the hips high before landing the feet.
    • Tip: when floating, always think “hips over shoulders” rather than jumping feet forward and back.

    Day 21

    Yesterday's towel pike press drill will come in handy for today's handstand variation, so you may want to revisit it. For our drill today, we will be stretching our hamstrings. Most everyone I know has some level of tightness in their hamstrings, which can be due to both activity (running, hiking, cycling, etc), or inactivity (too much sitting). Pressing into handstand requires the hamstrings to be relatively mobile, so make sure to take your time and stretch it out!

     Half/Full Splits (video sped up 4x)

    • Start with dynamic stretching to warm up the hamstrings and hip flexors. From a low runner’s lunge, bend and extend the front knee (one breath, one movement. Be mindful to lengthen the spine throughout.
    • Step into a low lunge and drop the back knee. Either place your hands on blocks, or on the front knee, or reach your arms overhead. 
    • Energetically hug thighs toward each other, and lift the pubic bone toward the belly button. This will encourage a deeper hip flexor stretch of your back leg. Do NOT dump into your lower back and overextend the upper back. Hold 10 breaths.
    • Straighten the front leg and shift the hips back into half-splits or ardha hanumanasana.
    • Roll frontal hip bones toward the mat and pull the sternum toward the flexed toes. Squeeze the front knee straight. You do not need to bow down fully to stretch the hamstrings. Hold 10 breaths.
    • Advance the pose into full splits or hanumanasana by slowly moving legs apart.
    • Support yourself using blocks: place hands on blocks next to the hips or slide one block under the front thigh (especially if you cannot descend the leg to the mat with level hips).
    • Switch sides. You may notice my left hamstring is less mobile than my right, so I place the block at a higher level under the leg.

    Press Handstand with Props

    • Video on left (sped up 4x). Place a bolster or an extra rolled-up mat against a wall. Step onto one or two blocks as you press your hands into the ground and the back of your head into the bolster. 
    • Lift the opposite leg to the ceiling. If you cannot get the hips over the shoulders, or the legs relatively straight, consider using an additional block or placing your foot on a low piece of furniture.
    • Keep in mind, you are pressing up, NOT hopping up. Use the strength of the core and hip flexors to lift off.
    • Do the other side!
    • Video on right (real time). If you’re ready to try this away from the wall, make sure you have a safe space to cartwheel out if needed.
    • Again, use blocks or furniture to help get your hips higher. Tighten the core and the quads, then remember to lift-off NOT hop up.

    Day 22

    Remember Day 5 when we worked on shoulder protraction and did our first face-the-wall handstand. Well, we are employing the same shoulder engagement and doing the  similar handstand variation today, with one difference -- we are aiming for a straight line (ie. no curvature in the spine). This will help you understand the core and shoulder engagement needed for a vertical line unsupported handstand. To prepare our bodies and build the muscular memory for this handstand, we first do an awesome core drill using a foam roller.

    Forearm Plank Pikes with Foam Roller

    • Start in plank with a foam roller under the low shins.
    • Place your forearms on the ground, parallel to each other with palms flat on the mat. Tighten up the core, draw the tailbone toward the feet, and pull the shoulder blades apart.
    • Contract your abdominals as you lift your hips skyward, aiming to get the hips over the shoulders. Do three sets of 5.

    Face-the-Wall Straight Line Handstand

    • We did a version of this on Day 5 when the goal was to simply get comfortable upside down. Now we are looking for a straight line with the support of the wall.
    • Walk up the wall. If you’re still leery about this pose, feel free to do it in a hallway so you have an extra wall to support you if you lose balance.
    • Get as close to the wall as possible, and flip the feet so the toenails are pressing onto the wall (careful not to mark your wall if you’re wearing nail polish ).
    • Push the floor away with your hands. Hug your frontal ribs to your spine as you bring a slight posterior tilt to your pelvis (pull the pubic bone to the belly button).
    • Hold as long as possible but reserve enough energy to either walk back out or cartwheel to the side as I do in the video.

    Day 23

    Want to get your heart rate up? How about some HIIT Yoga...it's a thing, and it's awesome. Today's drill will help you spike the heart rate and build stamina and strength for our handstand variation-o-day (tuck handstand from downward dog). We did tuck earlier in the challenge but now our stance is longer, which makes this more challenging. Have fun with it!

    HIIT Butterfly Crunches and Plank Hops

    • Start on your back with knees hugged into the chest.
    • Inhale as you reach legs and arms away from each other. Keep the small of your back on the mat.
    • Exhale as you hug the knees back in.
    • Continue to move through the exercise one breath, one movement. Do 10 repetitions.
    • Then rock forward and step into plank. Take a moment to stabilize and engage the core and legs.
    • Then hop both feet forward without lifting the hips too high, landing into a little cannon ball. (The feet will land partway up the mat, not between the hands.)
    • As soon as you land in the cannon ball, hop back to plank. Continue for 10 repetitions.
    • Do the whole sequence 3 times. This is a great way to increase stamina and charge up the core, legs and shoulders.

    Tuck Handstand from Downdog

    • We worked on Tuck Handstand earlier in the challenge (check back to Day 10 for a reminder).
    • Slight difference now is your stance is longer - you will be in a short downdog (feet stepped in a tiny bit).
    • Start by setting the gaze forward, exhale the breath, contract the abs, and hop up.
    • The first few hops may be small and hesitant. Be patient and confident!
    • Use the fingers to grip the mat, which will slow down your hop (and prevent you from going too far over).
    • If you catch balance, hold. Tighten up the tuck and breathe!
    • How’s your handstand practice coming along? Return to any of the previous days to continue your journey! And follow me on Instagram @yogigoup for more tips!

    Day 24

    We are back to strengthening our legs AND working on a vertical line in the spine. Today's drill and handstand variation is all about getting OUT of "banana back." This happens if you do not tighten up the abs, and if you have a very flexible spine that allows over-extension. To achieve a vertical line in handstand, you must work on eliminating the "banana back"!

    Wall Sits

    • Note: The video is on high-speed.
    • Come into a wall sit - step your feet far enough away from the wall so your hips can be in line with your knees.
    • Press your entire spine on the wall - do not let there be any space between your spine and the wall. I demo this by putting my hand behind by back showing what not to do, and then finding the correct position.
    • Hold the wall sit for 10 breaths.
    • Lift one leg, draw the knee toward the chest, then push the knee away and straighten the leg. Repeat x 5-10. Do the other side.
    • Final wall sit hold with both feet down for 10 breaths.
    • Stretch out the quads and hamstrings.

    “Advancing” the Single Leg Tuck Handstand

    • On Day 8 we worked on the single leg tuck handstand variation. Today we see if we can lift the leg slightly higher...and voilà, we are making more fun shapes.
    • First, I show you how to avoid creating “banana back.” When standing in tadasana, draw the frontal ribs in and tailbone down.
    • Walk the legs up the wall to L-shape handstand, lift a leg skyward...check to make sure you’re not making a “banana back” (keep drawing your tailbone up as you pull your lowest front rib in toward your spine).Shift hips away from the wall to lighten the opposite foot. If you catch balance, bring the toes to the other knee. Hold!
    • Swipe left to see the same variation from a kick-up to the wall. (Option: use a bolster to press your head on.)
    • Notice I correct the “banana back” posture by bending the knees and realigning the spine.
    • Lift one leg off the wall and bring the toes to the opposite knee. Stay here, or see if you can pull the other leg off the wall.

    Day 25

    Time to focus on hamstring flexibility again, and now we are adding hip mobility to the mix - in particular, external hip rotation. These both play a big role in our handstand variation today: Puppy Press Handstand. This isn't easy...but Rome wasn't build in a day, right? So take your time, and practice often!

    Head-to-Knee Forward Fold (Janu Sirsasana)

    • Come into a seated pose and bring one foot inside the opposite thigh.
    • Keep the spine extended, with pelvis anteriorly tilted as you draw the sternum forward toward the lengthened leg.
    • Use a strap if needed (ie. hamstrings are tight or spine tends to round).
    • Press the back of the lengthened leg toward the mat to stretch the hamstrings. Hold 5-10 breaths. Switch sides.

    Puppy Press Handstand

    • Use a bolster or an extra rolled-up mat, and have two blocks or a sturdy chair nearby.
    • Stand one foot on the blocks/chair, coming into a longer-stance forward fold.  Press the back of the head into the bolster (you can either look down or straight back).
    • Lift the opposite leg up, bend the knee and externally rotate the hip (I call this “dog at a fire hydrant”). Then straight your standing leg.
    • Press into your hands, activate your shoulders, and begin to lift the foot that is on the blocks/chair out to the side. Keep the leg straight as you reach it up to the wall.
    • Once you feel balanced, bring the other leg to the wall. Keep the entire body active and hold as long as possible.
    • To advance this pose, work away from the wall. Remember to always have an exit strategy, and take your time reaching your leg(s) upward.
    • Note: the tighter your hamstrings are, the higher your lower leg will have to be (that’s why blocks/furniture are helpful).

    How is your handstand coming along? We are almost there...keep it up!

    Day 26

    Descending from any inversion is super challenging as it takes a tremendous amount of abdominal strength. So, today's drill is all about improving this slow, controlled movement, by recruiting the abdominal muscles. The handstand variation is NOT easy (at least for me). Do what you can, and always congratulate yourself for all your progress thus far!

    Slow Leg Lifts

    • Lie on your back and place a block between the inner thighs. Straighten the legs to the sky, flexing the feet. Bring your hands onto your abdomen, (instead of placing them under your seat). This will help keep you honest about your abdominal strength and spinal integrity.
    • Press the entire length of the spine into the mat. Slowly lower the legs towards the ground - only lower to a point where you can keep the lower back on the mat.
    • Hold the pose; reach your arms overhead (handstand arms) and take 3-5 deep breaths.
    • Push through your heels and squeeze the legs back up to the starting point. Repeat as many as possible with good form.

    Slow Descent from Handstand

    • Lowering down from handstand (or any inversion) can be very challenging as you need to recruit your ab muscles for this action.
    • Press the back of your head into a bolster or an extra rolled-up mat, and come into a handstand however you’d like (kick up, tuck up, press up).
    • Once you get both legs up toward the ceiling, push your hands into the floor as you pull your belly button up toward the spine and squeeze your quads.
    • Maintain this muscular action and begin to lower the straight legs as slowly as possible back toward the mat.
    • Tip: allow your hips to move closer to the wall; you may even feel your lower back tap the wall as you do this. You must keep your hips over your shoulders (or even slightly forward of the shoulders) in order to control the descent.
    • If your hamstrings are super tight, this will be very challenging. You can work on lowering the knees into a tuck. 

    Still keeping up with your handstand practice? Ask me questions anytime!

    Day 27

    I feel a bit like a broken record telling you again that shoulder flexion (the ability to lift your arms overhead) is so very important for handstands, but it IS. Today we focus on increasing shoulder mobility, as well as spinal extension by doing some backbends. Both our drills and our handstand variation are backbends and require a lot of shoulder flexibility. If you know that your shoulder cannot support one or both of the drills, ease off and continue the previous shoulder work until you are ready to give this a go.

    Wheel Pose (Upward Bow Pose) at-the-Wall

    • Set two blocks at the wall, shoulder-width distance apart. The blocks can be flat on the ground, or placed at an angle on the base of the wall if your wrist extension feels limited.
    • Lie on your back, reach arms overhead, placing the palms flat on the blocks (grip your fingers around the edge of the blocks).
    • Press into your feet to engage the legs and lift up to wheel/upward bow pose.
    • Walk your feet in closer to the wall, and move your chest to the wall. Try to touch your nose to the wall - aim to "kiss the wall." Hold 5 breaths.

    Dharma Yoga Wheel Work

    • This is a great prop to use to lengthen the spine and increase flexion in the shoulders. Place the #dharmayogawheel at the base of the spine, and lean your upper body weight onto it. Press into your feet and begin to roll so the wheel travels up and down the spine.
    • Lastly, bring your arms overhead and grasp the wheel with your fingers. Walk the hands down the wheel, closer to the floor. Roll back so the elbows come close to, or possibly touch, the floor. Straighten the legs. Hold 10 breaths.

    Hollowback Handstand

    • Measure a forearm’s distance length from the wall for hand placement. Shorten this distance by half if your shoulder mobility is limited.
    • Kick the legs up to the wall, but keep one knee bent. Extend your mid-spine into a backbend and place your lower back and hips on the wall. Straighten both legs as you press your chest away from the wall. Hold as long as possible. To exit, bend one knee and push your foot into the wall to float back down.

    Day 28

    We are back to learning how to press in to handstand, instead of hopping up. The great thing about pressing up is that it gives you a lot more control (so less likely to fall out). But the challenging thing is to build the core and hip flexor strength, increase wrist extension, and engage arm and shoulder muscles to hold your entire body weight off the floor. The drill will help you get there, then be patient with yourself as you work on the handstand variation today. Pssst: Pressing into tuck handstand is my favorite way to get upside down!

    Lolasana or Pendant Pose

    • Start by placing a block on either side of your thighs. Lay palms flat on the blocks, with fingers gripping the edges. Press into the hands, straighten the arms, and draw the shoulder blades apart. Lift your knees off the ground, bringing them into the chest, but keeping the toenails on the mat. Repeat 5-10x.
    • Next, do all the first steps but lift the feet of the ground as well, tucking into a cannon ball shape. Repeat 5-10x.
    • Final drill: do all the first steps, lifting the knees and feet into a cannon ball and cross one foot over the other. HOLD for 5 full breaths. Repeat and cross the other foot on top.

    Press into Tuck Handstand

    • Set up blocks or a low piece of furniture (ottoman, stool) to step on - this will lift your hips higher.
    • Bring one knee into the chest and hold. Press into your hands, and recruit the abs in order to lift the other leg into the chest as well. If you get into the pose, HOLD. If not, don’t despair...practice against the wall (with a bolster) as we’ve done in the past. Remember, this is a press up NOT a hop up.
    • As you get more comfortable with handstand, and start increasing core and shoulder strength, along with hamstring flexibility, you’ll be able to lift off from a lower height (just one block, or even off the floor). Keep working on it! It gets easier!

    Day 29

    Hey, hamstrings, feeling neglected? Probably not, but just in case you need an intense hamstring stretch, today's drills are for you. We'll stretch out our hamstrings in order to work toward Handstand Splits. Full disclosure: I haven’t really practiced this handstand variation and my inability to fully split my legs in the video is proof. Plus my left hamstring is recovering from an injury, so it's definitely less mobile. We'll be using the wall to get upside down, but aim to catch balance even for a split second...um, pun not intended :)

    Intense Hamstring Stretches

    • Begin in Pyramid Pose next to a wall, keeping the hips level, and straighten the legs without hyperextending the knees. If your hammies are super tight, place hands on blocks and do not bow upper body too far down. Hold 5-10 breaths.
    • Stay in pyramid pose, but move your back foot to the wall. Support yourself with hands on the wall and lean the hips toward the wall to increase the angle of the front leg, and therefore the stretch in the hamstrings. Hold 5-10 breaths.
    • Standing Splits at-the-wall: Walk one leg up the wall, moving the opposite foot and both hands closer to the base of the wall.
    • You’ll begin to feel an intense stretch in your hamstrings of the lower leg. Tuck the toes of your upper foot (this isn’t visible in the video) and squeeze the legs as straight as possible.
    • Then, consider lifting the bottom foot off the ground to a hover. This is not an easy pose, but an awesome way to strengthen the upper body, while lengthening the hamstrings. Repeat on the other side.

    Handstand Splits

    Choose your handstand entry (or try both):

    1. Measure a leg-distance from the wall and walk up the wall to your L-shape. Then pull one leg far away from the wall, aiming for splits. Try to get onto the tippy toes of the foot on the wall, and possibly catch balance.
    2. Measure a leg-distance from the wall, and then kick up to the wall, landing one foot on the wall. Once you’re upside down, try to separate the legs from each other.

    *Note: you may be further from the wall than is comfortable, but as long as you keep the arms straight, you will reach the wall with your foot! This is very different than the L-shape! You may have to get a little uncomfortable while attempting this pose.

    Day 30

    If you've done the work the past 30 days, congratulate yourself on the progress you've made! Perhaps you are now more comfortable kicking-up into handstand, or you have begun to see that a press handstand is possible. Whatever your physical and mental shifts have been around handstand, I'm thrilled that you took the challenge! As

    always, I'm here to help if you need - let me know by sending me an email or you can follow me on Instagram @yogigoup for more tips and drills.

    Core Work and Lift-off from Exercise Ball

    • Get into plank pose with the tops of the feet on a large exercise ball. Draw the knees into the chest, then return to starting position. Repeat 5 times, and try to lift the hips high on the last one to land into a tuck handstand.
    • Next variation: start again in plank pose and move into a pike pose, lifting the hips skyward with straight legs. Repeat 5x, and reach one leg to the sky on the last one to create an L-shape handstand.
    • Final variation: Start as you did previously and move the body into pike, then squeeze the legs and engage the abs, and possibly lift both legs off the ball and hold in a pike. 

    Celebratory Handstand of Your Choice

    • By now, you have a few handstands to choose from (whether at the wall or not), so let’s see your best attempt! Consider doing one that challenges you (ahem, away from the wall?) or trying to hold longer than you thought possible. 
    • I chose Straddle Press Handstand for my celebratory pose...even though we didn’t work on it during our challenge So, why did I choose it? Because I never thought I’d ever be able to do this. I was stuck in my self-imposed story around why I’d never do a handstand. My message to you is to stop giving power to your limiting beliefs. Whatever you want to achieve is possible if you put in the work, are willing to fail and try again, and don’t take yourself too seriously. You’ll surprise yourself with your own strength.🙏🏼❤️