The 7-Day Handstand Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Day 7: Handstand Flow Whoa!

25 min - Practice


Now that we're stronger and more familiar with Handstands, we get to integrate them into our yoga flow! In the final day of our challenge, Allison combines elements from Days 1-6 into an energizing sequence that will further your Handstand practice and give you a fun workout. You will feel accomplished, invigorated, and eager to keep playing!
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome back, you've arrived at day seven of your handstand challenge, way to go. This class is called handstand flow, whoa, because we're going to add all of the different elements that you've already experienced and add a little touch by using the wall. So you can definitely practice this class without a wall, but it's a really nice special taste when you do have it. So get yourself set up and I'll meet you down on the mat. We'll start in constructive rest and place your hands wherever they feel comfortable.

Bring your right knee into your chest and circle your thigh around at the hip. Let your foot be pretty relaxed here. And then if you choose, you can straight in your right leg and continue with those circles with the leg straight. And then circle in the opposite direction and anytime you can change and mix and match as you circle the thigh. And after your next circle, place the right foot back down onto the mat and switch sides.

Bring the left knee in, circle it around, let the foot be as relaxed as possible. And if you choose, straighten the leg and go around in the opposite direction. And from there, place the left foot back down onto the floor. Reach your arms overhead, actively press through your heels of your hands, straighten both legs. So you're in this supine handstand and we're gonna do switch kicks.

So you're gonna reach the right foot up, maybe press through the ball of the foot, press through your hands and then from here, lift the left leg and switch. So our right heel comes down, hovers above the floor, you'll count to three, one, two, three, switch. If you wanna bounce the lower leg, one, two, three, switch, one, two, three, switch and do it a couple of times just to get into that rhythm that we've been experiencing while kicking up. Then after your next switch kick, you'll lower both legs back down to the floor, lower your arms, bend your knees, roll to one side and then you wanna face the wall as you come into your tabletop position. So make sure that your hand can reach the wall in front of you and that it doesn't feel too cramped where you can't straighten the arm.

Then once you find that distance for yourself, tuck your toes, reach the right leg back, lift the right leg up, maybe press through the ball of the foot and you're gonna tap and lift. So that same kicking leg. We can take this a step further by bringing it into downward facing dog. So as the toe taps, when you go to lift your aerial leg, lift your left knee up and come into a three-legged downward facing dog. Lower the knee back down, tap, kick up, tap, kick up and one more, tap and kick up and lower back down and do the other side.

Reach the left ball of the foot back, start with the taps and then bring it into the downward facing dog. So you're really powering through your grounded leg as you kick up, exactly as you would kick up to the wall, good, then lower back down, reach the right hand down in front of you, left ball of the foot back, reach through the toes, press into the wall, lower the hand, lower the knee, switch sides, left hand to the wall, press through the ball of the right foot, then lower the hand, lower the foot, okay? So you can repeat that again, come into plank, reach the right hand forward, it's like you're high-fiving the wall, okay? And then maybe lift that left ball of the foot away from the floor, push into the hand and the foot and then lower down. Other side, left hand to the wall, reach back with the right toes, press, press, press and then lower the hand and lower the foot.

From here, come all the way down to the floor, take your arms down by your sides, inhale, come up into shalabhasana. As you exhale, lower down, hands underneath your shoulders, walk back into downward facing dog. So now you're welcome to have your blocks here as well as you come to step forward, having that extra height underneath your hands. You step right leg forward, inhale, circle your arms up, circle them, pull the elbows back and then press the palms into the wall, reach back through the left foot as you press into the wall and then lower the hands down, step your right foot back, reach the left hand forward, put it down, right hand forward, put it down, lower down to the ground, inhale up into your back bend, come up into downward facing dog. Then step your left foot forward, circle your arms up, around, pull the elbows back, press forward, drive the heels of the hands into the wall but then also grip with your fingertips.

What does that feel like? Pull your left outer hip back and then as you exhale, lower your hands down, step your left foot back, high side of the wall with your right hand, then your left, lower down to the ground, inhale into your back bend, up and back, down dog. From your downward facing dog, walk your feet back up to your hands and come about halfway up the mat. Take your hands to your hips, come all the way up to stand. From here, we're going back into our wall dog, so we've practiced this before, that idea of kicking in a standing position, so you'll scoot the left foot to the center, take the right leg back, bend, kick straight in and push, bend, kick straight in and push, bend, kick straight in and push.

Let's change sides, right foot to the center, left leg goes up and back, bend the knee, kick, lift and push, kick, lift and push, and one more, kick, lift and push, good. Then lower the left foot down, walk your feet to the wall. So now we're going to experience that switch kick. We did it on the ground and now we're going to attempt going onto the wall. What I like about this is that the aim isn't to bring the feet to the wall, but it's really the switching of the legs, so you get a little more time and space in the air, but without necessarily having to A, kick up to the wall, and then B, being able to experience what it's like to be in a handstand, even if it's for that microsecond, and it also helps to work a little bit away from the wall.

If you touch the wall, totally fine, that's what it's there for. You can use your preference as to where you want your hands, and also whether you want to start with your hands on the floor or if you want to start with your hands higher up as I will be showing you, okay? So remember, the hands are about six inches away from the wall. So when I kick up, I'm going to briefly pause, switch my legs, and then come down with the opposite leg. So here we go, hands come down, one leg goes up, and the other leg comes down, and then I come up, and now I'm going to switch to the other side.

So we're going to continue to switch legs, and with every kick up, maybe we go a little bit higher, but remember, that rapid fire, we just keep doing it, doing it, doing it, we might get flustered, we might get frustrated, so when you need to pause, pause, and then reset and go for it again. So hands come down, switch and kick, come back up, hands come down, lift up, switch and kick, okay? Couple more, hands down, switch and kick, and then if you touch the wall, it's fine, touch the wall, switch, and come back down. I didn't make it to the wall, okay? There, switch, and back down, let's do one more, good, okay.

So we've done our switching kicks, let's take a little break from that. You're going to take your right hand, bring your right hand to the wall, and turn away from the wall. You can have your left hand along your ribs, take a few breaths there, and then we're going to change sides, bring your left hand to the wall, turn away from the wall, pull your ribs to the right, good, and then from here, come back through center, grab your blocks, and bring your blocks to the right side of the mat. So we're going to revisit a little bit of that artichandrosana play that we did in the center of the room. So if you felt like, oh, I really wanted to try that, but couldn't get there because there wasn't a wall, now we have an opportunity to play with the wall.

So take your right hand down to your blocks, lift the left leg up, okay? You can bring the arm overhead, but if you do, you might be a little squished, but see what happens. You press the hand into the wall, reach the leg back, might be a slightly different artichandrosana for you. Then from there, okay, you're going to take the left hand, bring the left hand down, scoot those blocks aside. If you feel a little bit close, you can step yourself back a little bit, and then from here, lift up, maybe switch, maybe not, and then bring the foot back down to the mat.

Okay, you can try that again. Come back with your blocks, hand to the blocks, left hand overhead, push, press through the left heel, okay? Then it's nice because you have the wall, you can hold on to it as you scooch those blocks aside, right hand comes down, left hand comes down, roll the body down. If you need to make some space, as I do, you'll scoot the foot back, lift up, and then make your way back down. Good, so now we're going to try the other side.

So grab your blocks, bring your blocks over to the left side of the mat, stand with your left foot facing forward, left hand comes down, Ardha Trandrasana, lift the leg, right? Maybe the right hand comes to the wall, thumb is pointing down, push, feels like you're pushing yourself away from the wall. Then from there, circle the right side of the body down to the floor, right hand makes contact, you're going to scooch those blocks off to the side, and then from there, one, two, three, kick up. Maybe switch the legs, maybe not, and then bring one foot down, and then the other. Come on up, give it another go, bring those blocks back, left palm comes to the blocks, lift up, Ardha Trandrasana, and then from there, circle down, hands come down, scooch the blocks aside, and then one, two, three, little hop up, and then make your way down when you're ready.

Okay, okay, hopefully that went well, we're going to scooch onto the next exercise, give us ourselves just a little break off of the wrists. So this time, you're going to take your left wrist into flexion, you're going to press it against the wall, and as you press the wrist against the wall, turn away like we did before, and then take your right arm and bring your right arm out, and you're going to practice internally rotating the arm and externally rotating the arm. So your left wrist presses into the wall, and your right arm turns in and out. And then come back through center, we'll try the other side, right back of the wrist comes to the wall, turn away from the wall, as you turn, bring the left arm out so you get wide across the front of the chest, and then internally rotate, externally rotate. So this may be the more active arm that's moving and rotating, but you want to release your wrist here using the presence of the wall.

Good, and then slowly make your way back to facing the wall. Come a little bit away from the wall, and you can move your blocks aside. So you're going to practice again those hops. So before we practice with the bolster this time, we're not going to practice with the bolster. Instead of your hips reaching to the wall this time, think about the toes.

So your toes are going to move from the floor, tap the wall, and come back down your top and back down. Shall we give it a go? I think so. Okay, so hands come down six inches or so away from the wall, and you're going to come into a little tuck position as you jump up. So you're making those little bear froggy jumps a little bit bigger, getting your shoulders right underneath your hips.

And jump. And we don't make it, so we try again, okay, jump, toe tap, there it is, and then back down. Give yourself a pause, breathe, try again, a little jump, tap, back down, give it another go, take yourself, give yourself a breath, and jump. Okay, now from here, see if you can get the soles of your feet onto the wall. And then pull the tailbone up towards your knees, that little backwards tilt that we've tried before, and as you're bringing the tail towards the backs of the knees, can you walk your feet up the wall?

Then can you move from this little bit of a shalabasana spine into your neutral spine? Now your legs might come right down to the floor, and that's quite all right, okay, but slow and easy, and then make your way down. Take your hands to your hips, and very slowly make your way up to stand, okay? So we're going to give that another go, rest when you need to rest, focus on little hops, hips coming over your shoulders, toes tap, and if you feel like you've built up a lot of endurance, you can stay there for a little while, and you walk your feet up the wall, and slowly move, okay, from that back bending position, drawing the tail down, drawing the front ribs down, and pushing through the hands and the feet, okay? Let's give that a go.

So hands come down, little baby hops, don't worry if the first and second, and the 51st, and the 100th, don't hop all the way up, it's quite all right, okay? Move the tailbone up towards the knees, walk the feet up, feel shalabhasana with your feet on the wall, and your hands where they are, this is definitely a back bend, back bends are okay, don't worry about it, but if you're looking for more of neutral, right? Bring everything from shalabhasana back in, ribs in, and come away, feel the movement of the hands, and then come down, all right? So how did that go? Was it amazing?

I hope so. I think it was, yay! Okay, so we're gonna wind it down, right, that was a lot of work, that was a lot of effort, that was a lot of work, okay? Sweating, you're like, snap time, I agree with you, come on down to the floor. So cuddle in nice and close to the wall. This is one of my all-time favorites.

So you're gonna bring both of your feet to the wall, and then cross your right ankle past the top of your left thigh, so it's a nice variation of flipped pigeon, and take your hips and tilt them forward towards the wall, so create that arch in the back. And then rock a little bit, so you're coming onto the outer edge of your left foot, a little bit of a twist, but not all the way down. And then back through center, and twist a little bit again, pressing the knee towards your left foot, almost like fire log, it's like a diagonal fire log. I'm not gonna lie to you all, I just came up with that, and then come back through center. Good, and now try the other side, place your right foot onto the wall, cross the left ankle past the top of the right thigh, and roll to the outer edge of the right foot, and back through center.

Roll to the outer edge, and back through center. And come on back up, lower your feet down to the floor, bring the soles of the feet together, let the knees come out to the sides, maybe even press the balls of the feet or the toes into the wall as the knees come out to the sides. Let your eyes close, feel your heartbeat decelerating from all that energizing, active handstand play, giving yourself a lot of grace and space to absorb your journey. Handstands are most certainly not an overnight phenomenon, they're a constant work in progress, and they shift and they change, and your legs are gonna shift and change, and you're gonna wanna jump, and you're gonna wanna hop, and you're gonna wanna lie down, you're gonna wanna do it sideways, so give yourself that space to be curious and to explore, and most importantly to enjoy handstand, to enjoy its process, no matter how frustrating it can be. Bring your arms down, if they were up, scoop the knees back up to center, and then wiggle yourself back.

Stretch your legs forward, and have your feet firmly on the wall, so you rest your arms down by your sides, so a lot of that hopping and floating and flying to have a grounded Shavasana, let your eyes be soft, as you rest for a few moments. Bend your knees, roll to one side, and using your hands, gently press yourself up into any comfortable position, and place one hand over your heart, and the other hand on top. Thank you so much for joining me, I'm so excited that you made it all the way to day seven, yay! So heart rubs to you, you've built so many skills, so many variations, all of the things, I wanna know everything, let me know, tell me in the comments, I wanna know what worked for you, what you love, maybe what you didn't like so much, let me know it all. Thank you so much for joining me, and I will see you soon.


Kate M
2 people like this.
OMG this was so much FUN!! I laughed as I tried the various entries and exits to handstand. I am really looking forward to revisiting these episodes and introducing some of these ideas in my classes. There's something for everybody here! Thank you so much Allison!
Catherine A
1 person likes this.
That was a brilliant finale to the Challenge, Allison. Like Kate, I had a lot of fun with this tonight and overall I have definitely got a much better handle on the full pose. Many thanks X 
Christel B
So energiizing! Loved it all, the variations and work ups to handstanding.
Jenny S
I heartily agree with everyone here! Lots of fun for sure. The way you broke things down got me seeing handstand in a whole new way. I also found myself getting a little glow (sweat) on during some of the practices - including today! Thanks Allison and Yoga Anytime 🙏🏻❤️
Martha K
Fun for sure - a little sweaty and makes me feel strong. I'm hoping to get all the way to handstand with a little more time and effort. 
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Second time through this challenge! It felt so good, and I'm getting more hang time!! Such wonderfully empowering ways to approach UrdhvaVrkshasana!! 
Priscilla L
1 person likes this.
I really liked how you lead through. I'm still ages to getting close to it, but on my way Thank you!

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