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Preparing for Handstand

Intermediate II

In this practice, Rachel guides you to a peak pose of handstand prep pose where you will begin to cultivate the shoulder and upper awareness that is essential for supporting yourself properly upside down. Note: You will need a wall to do the practice.

This can either be done as a stand-alone class, as Day 2 of Rachel's 7-Day Inversion Challenge or as Day 28 of the Daily Dose 30-Day Intermediate Yoga Challenge.

Equipment:
  • Strap
  • Block
Style:

Comments

Existing Comments

PianoWire
PianoWire
May 26, 2021
Comment:

Great shoulder work. The scapular push-ups, especially in plank pose, felt good. However, the looped-strap exercises weren't accessible to me. With my arms straight and wrists confined by the strap, I could barely get my arms above horizontal, with my wrists no higher than eye level. Other than improving my shoulder mobility, which I've been working on for years, what do you suggest? Should I loosen the strap so I can raise my arms higher, or should I keep the strap tight and not raise my arms above my head?

Fiji McAlpine
Fiji McAlpine
May 27, 2021
Comment:

Increasing shoulder mobility takes time especially if our lifestyle contributes to tightening them back up again! When we are working with connective tissue and you meet your edge, it is important to try and linger there rather than force through. Soften, touch the discomfort as lightly as you can with your breath. Soulder movement over head can actually be limited by the way the shoulder joint is put together, and genetics play a roll in this. Some of us just won't be able to go all the way up without compensating and back bending. I think you could loosen the strap just a bit, but try to stay on coming back to that edge and see if over time it shifts.

cwo-essen
cwo-essen
February 28, 2021
Comment:

You are an amazing teacher, Rachel! When you explain positions, I am able to do things that I never thought possible. Thank you!

rhett.bennick@gmail.com
[email protected]
February 25, 2021
Comment:

Love it when a class has movements that build upon each other like the scapula push-ups. Really effective for teaching myself how to push my heart towards the wall while walking my legs up it. Also as a runner, def appreciated the calf stretch. Thank you Rachel!

monkeymath
monkeymath
February 22, 2021
Comment:

When Rachel put her feet up the wall, I thought "well, there's no way I'll be doing that". And then I did. It didn't even feel forced or awkward, because Rachel had explained so well how to engage the shoulders and the core and what sensation to look for.

crepuscule3142
crepuscule3142
February 18, 2021
Comment:

Hey Rachel, I’ve been terrified of doing a handstand all my life, but this course of yours has finally given me the push to go through with it. Our apartment is tiny so there isn’t much space for me to fall over without smashing something but I guess this will force me to concentrate that much more. Thanks and see you on the other side.

Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott
February 25, 2021
Comment:

Hello! Sorry I missed this til now~ I'm so happy that this course has helped you develop more of a foundation .... candidly, I'm scared of handstand, too!! But if I approach it methodically, then I have a sense of more control and what is safely in reach. Handstand prep (where you make the L-shape with your feet on the wall and hands on the floor?) is REALLY good for creating strength - and is harder than handstand. That is an ideal pose to work towards and practice in smaller spaces ...until you can come on retreat and do it with us in person!! ;)

yogiAndermoser
yogiAndermoser
February 17, 2021
Comment:

This is such an AMAZING series! Thank you, Rachel! I second the "Queen of cueing" comment. Whether it's jellyfish, blueberries, PEZ dispensers, or one of the many other vivid images you refer to, you know exactly how to explain so that I know how to position and focus my body, energy and thoughts. I am absolutely terrified of handstand, but am so motivated to do it. My big achievement today was getting both feet (however small a distance and however briefly ;) up the wall and off the floor at the same time. It was a tough class, a great exercise in focus and a very rewarding experience. Looking forward to Day 3!

LucyHB
LucyHB
February 16, 2021
Comment:

Thank you so much for these classes Rachel, I am finding them so helpful and I'm certain I will keep returning to this class and this challenge. I have recently begun calesthenics (very much still a beginner) and can tell that this will help my calesthenics training as well as my yoga practice (a lot of scapula chat going on in my life right now!) I still feel nervous about flipping up into handstand but these classes feel like great first steps. Thank you!

Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott
February 16, 2021
Comment:

Hi Lucy, that's wonderful to hear!! I'm a huge fan of taking small, practical steps and moving forward in your comfort zone - sounds like you're setting a strong foundation!

lpyles
lpyles
February 16, 2021
Comment:

I have been doing inversions for years. For handstand I can't get over my dependence on the wall. Over the last year, my goal has been to do a press to handstand. I was so excited when I saw you were offering this series. I know I have the strength, flexibility and balance, but there is something wrong in by positioning (and courage). I learned so much in this class. As always your ability to teach proprioception and kinesthesia is so beneficial to achieving progress. Thank you

Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott
February 16, 2021
Comment:

AH yes!! Press handstand is such a tricky one. I think the most important thing is to know to develop confidence in inversions is to know how to fall out of it. If you can get out, then it's not as scary to go in. Most folks elect to "cartwheel" out to the side. I have a hard time with that, so I fall over into wheel (only okay if you are very flexible with wheel, though.) When it's a nice day out, it can be good to practice the cartwheel outside on a lawn or at a beach (or something with VERY forgiving surfaces. Once that gets more comfortable, then it can transition into the mat world. One day when we can do retreats again, handstands are excellent for practicing with a teacher to help, as they can get you into the middle of the room, but safely. Great to be with you on this journey~

sng4ever
sng4ever
February 15, 2021
Comment:

Another fantastic practice with Rachel, the queen of cueing. This is a great practice for anyone wanting to learn an inversion or has done them for years (to go back and check how your shoulders are being used).

cengstrom
cengstrom
February 15, 2021
Comment:

Gosh, I found my body so calm and nourished after this practice. I could be wrong, but it felt like a sequence of subtle opening and closing of the heart chakra, which for me had the effect of gently dissolving any and all blockages in my chest. Rachel is really a master of calling equal attention to the physical shape of your body as well as the internal sensations and points of engagement you should focus on. Her classes have opened up a world of personal discovery about my body - especially those minuscule muscles and bones that didn't receive a lot of care and acknowledgment prior. Throughout my practice and in other classes on this site, I find myself striving for those same sensations that I first discovered in a Rachel class. I am looking forward to more strengthening, grounding, and lifting in this challenge.

Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott
February 15, 2021
Comment:

I so enjoyed reading this thoughtful reflection...what a beautiful observation of the connection between the physical actions and the more energetic experience of the heart. So beautifully said~XO

Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott
February 14, 2021
Comment:

Welcome to the class, everyone! I hope you enjoy it :) ~Rachel