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9 Yoga Handstand Poses

For those of you who know me as a yoga teacher, then you’ll know that I love me some yoga inversions! I mean, c’mon, what’s not to love about poses that boost strength, flexibility, and circulation, right?

I know that when most people think about inversions, they think about the big one: yoga handstands. And, I get it, this is the sort of pinnacle inversion that you see all over Instagram

The good news is that there are plenty of inversions for you to practice before you get to the point of yoga handstands. Check out this post to learn more about inversions for all levels. 

If you are ready to join the world of handstanding, welcome! I’m so happy to have you here. While handstands look cool, and can certainly be a fun party trick to bust out- they also provide much deeper benefits beyond the flashy physical stuff. 

The yoga practice uses handstands to open the Solar Plexus Chakra, to build confidence, to work on tapas (self discipline), and to channel the Fire Element properties. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on in this beautiful shape! But that doesn’t mean it’s unattainable.

Trust me when I say it’s not impossible to start learning yoga handstands, and they’re well worth the time and effort you put into learning them. 

Today’s post is a round up of 9 yoga handstand poses that you can add to your routine today, whether you’re brand new to your handstand journey, or a seasoned practitioner. The yoga poses listed below are from beginner to advanced for your handstand practice.

Try my How To Handstand series today!

6 Yoga Handstand Poses

  • L shape handstand with the wall.
  • Single leg handstand with the wall.
  • Kick to handstand with a block.
  • L shape handstand off the wall.
  • Straight line handstand.
  • Straddle handstand.
  • Splits handstand.
  • Stag handstand. 
  • Pike handstand.
9 Yoga Handstand Poses

Handstand is otherwise known as Adho Mukha Vrksasana in Sanskrit.

You can think of the handstand poses below like a step-by-step guide to handstand. These shapes will start with the most beginner friendly, to the more advanced. You can also learn about handstand progress HERE if you’re ready to come away from the wall.

Speaking of the wall, please don’t forget that the wall is your friend when you’re first learning how to handstand. The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to love the wall so much, that you can’t step away from it once you’re ready. 

Try to use the wall as a tool to help you build strength, find balance, and get comfortable with your hips over your shoulders- rather than crutch that you can’t handstand without. 

You’ve got this!

And don’t worry- if you’re still not quite ready to handstand (even with the wall), focus on plank pose, boat pose, standing splits, and downward facing dog to build strength, flexibility, and balance. 

L Shape Handstand With The Wall

This is perfect for newbies to handstand, as L shape handstand with the wall will help you to build strength in your shoulders, core, and help get you comfortable being upside down.

This pose is a great way to build a strong foundation of your 90 degrees hold in handstand, which bumps your shoulders over your wrists, and forces your upper arms to do work in keeping you upside down. Remember that you can super slowly walk your feet up the wall to get comfortable with the upside down sensation. You don’t have to move quickly. 

9 Yoga Handstand Poses

Single Leg Handstand With The Wall

This is still a great pose for newbies to handstand. This shape builds strength needed for kicking into handstand later on.

Once you’re comfortable in L shape handstand with the wall, then you can practice lifting one leg off the wall and kicking the foot skyward. Try to reach the ball mound of your foot towards the ceiling, so avoid kicking the foot overhead, as this will create an arch in the back. 

9 Yoga Handstand Poses

Kick To Handstand With A Block

Think of kicking with a block as using training wheels when you’re ready to come away from the wall. You’re getting closer to the intermediate zone with handstanding. 

If you don’t have a block, you can use anything between your thigh and belly that ensures you’re compressing your leg towards your midline. This will keep your spine long, and help you from falling over into Wheel Pose. 

L Shape Handstand Off The Wall

This is an intermediate level handstand, where you’re comfy away from the wall, and the training wheels are off. This is a great shape to find your center of gravity and balance. 

Remember that you can always keep the kicking knee hugged into towards your chest, rather than having the leg straight if that feels more accessible. Try to keep your index fingers pointing forward to reduce pain in the wrists.

Straight Line Handstand

This is an intermediate version of handstand, even though many people find this variation to be more challenging than the flexible backbendy ones you’ll see later on. 

I like to teach the straight line handstand as the foundation of the handstand practice to ensure there’s alignment, control, and activation- rather than a big floppy mess happening. This is where compression with the block comes in handy to ensure your have length in the low back, rather than letting the hips draw over your shoulders. 

Straddle Handstand

This is an intermediate version of handstand that can really help with finding your center of balance in a more accessible way than the straight line handstand version. 

Straddle Handstand is also helpful for when you’re learning how to press into handstand, which is a more challenging entry point into the pose.

9 Yoga Handstand Poses

Splits Handstand

This is an intermediate to advanced level handstand that can also help you to find your center of gravity when you’re upside down. You can increase the challenge of this pose by turning up the depth of the backbend. 

When you split your legs, you have the option to keep your spine relatively straight, only opening from the legs. Or, you can challenge yourself by adding a controlled backbend by pulling your chest through your shoulders and actively pressing your back leg down towards the top of your head as you look through and up.

9 Yoga Handstand Poses

Stag Handstand

This is an advanced level handstand that requires control, strength, and flexibility. While all handstands require these components, when we start to add backbends into the handstand- then you’ll find the intensity increase. 

Remember to practice backbend flexibility with control, rather than kicking so hard that you’re more like a wet noodle, rather than controlled and intentional. Use the hugging of your shoulder blades to press your chest further open, and then really scoop and pull your chin forward to tug your chest through your shoulders for counter balance.

9 Yoga Handstand Poses

Pike Handstand

This is an advanced level handstand that’s a great preparatory shape for press into handstand later on. If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s the exact same position as L shape handstand with the wall….just without a wall this time. 

While Pike Handstand requires a ton of upper body strength, it’s also important to remember your lower body in this position, too. Keep the toes activated, as well as the entire length of both legs. This will help you feel lighter and more controllable when you’re balancing on your hands. 

9 Yoga Handstand Poses

Let me know which handstand yoga pose is your favorite in the comments below!

And make sure to tag me in your progress pics on Instagram

xx, 

K

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