Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about getting into inversions, so I thought I’d put a quick post up about what has worked for me in the past! Having a background in gymnastics definitely does help a little, I won’t lie, especially with the fear of falling! But if I can do it, anyone can do it, so don’t give up!
Here are my top five tips:
- Grab a comfy mat with a pillow: or a blanket, or grass, or anything that you trust to fall into! The biggest thing is losing the fear of falling. Sure, the first fall kinda hurts and feels like an ego killer, but once you lose that fear, it’ll be easier to get up! Rip that bandaid off and celebrate falling! That means your learning! Plus having a nice cozy pillow to catch you always helps a little!
- Use the wall and inch away: this is really helpful at first. Whether it’s a handstand, headstand, or forearm stand, knowing you won’t go completely over is comforting and you can get a feel for how strong you really need to be to get your legs to where your head used to be 😉 As you progress, slowly inch away from the wall. Knowing that it’s there, and will still be there if you overshoot the kick up helps you to not undershoot it and gets you used to feeling vertically turned upside down!
- Push up through your shoulders: raise your hands above your head right now (yes, while you’re reading this!). Now shrug your shoulders up. Feel that? That’s what you need to be doing when you’re in the handstand position! Push up through your shoulders, as if you’re carrying the ground above your head (technically you are in this scenario!). This will help you to maintain posture!
- Tuck your navel: a really good ab exercise for this is boat rocks. Essentially tuck your pelvis and navel forward so that you’re not arching your back! It helps to give you proper form and strengthen your core so that your core is the one holding you up, not your poor back (also helps with posture!).
- Use your core rather than your legs to get up: this one is huge. Your legs aren’t the powerhouses in this, guys! It’s your tummy! Everything emanates from the core. It’s a very sacred place! Think about when you are hanging from your arms, raising your legs. Are you using your core or your leg muscles for that? Technically you’re using a bit of both, but it’s mainly your core! Your legs are just hanging there, really! So imagine that when you’re going up into a handstand. Pull your legs up mostly from your core. This also helps you to not overshoot the inversion! Your core stabilizes you so that you won’t fall backwards, but rather have a beautiful handstand to show off to all of your friends haha!
My bonus sixth tip: strengthen those arms! A lot of the work that goes into inversions is actually put in outside of the practice of inversions (but practicing them is still important, mind you!). What I’ve come to learn is that if you’re weak in an area physically, you also my be weak in that figuratively. The mind is just as important to train in this as your body. I found that when I wasn’t making progress, I realized I wasn’t able to pull myself up both physically and figuratively. I felt like I needed a support always.
When you work to strengthen your arms, also look at what other areas in your life could be strengthened. How is your relationship with yourself? Do you prioritize the care of your own wellbeing? Do you speak up for yourself? When I was able to address areas that needed strengthening outside of my physical body (or rather internally ha!), I was able to work on my physical arm strength much easier, and that in turn helped my handstands!
I hope these tips helped! Remember, this stuff takes practice- DO NOT GIVE UP! You can do this. Let me know how your practice is going on the ‘gram of course, or leave a comment below!