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We’ve all been in yoga when they go ‘and if it’s in your practice…you may invert…’ I don’t know about you, but before it was ‘in my practice,’ that suggestion was like one big slap in the face. Going upside down is a big goal for yogis, and trust me, when you finally do, you’ll see why it’s worth working for. There are few feelings I love more than hanging out upside down. The rush of blood to the head can cure any rough day, or prep you for a great one.
To just slowly fly up into a graceful headstand and chill out for a hot second is a lot easier said than done. These strength prepping poses are how I eventually got there. I did them every day for around two months. Do each of these a few minutes a day, and you’ll be in Adho Mukha Vrksasana before you can learn how to spell it.
Downward Facing Dog — yes, yes, I know, this is an ‘easy’ staple. But, if you hang out in downward dog for a few minutes, you’ll really feel it building strength in your shoulders, and that strength is super necessary for handstands. To increase the benefits, try floating from downward dog to forward fold and back to plank. Going through that cycle over and over is great for shoulder and core strength.
Boat Pose — inversions are mostly about core strength, boat is a killer core tightener. Make sure your shoulders are down and back, and that your back is as straight as possible.
Crow — The first arm balance I learned was crow. It’s the perfect balance to start with to build up to inversions. If you can’t immediately do it, keep trying. You’ll start off balancing for just a moment, then build up to a true, calm balance.