12 Days of Handstands
A community funded training program
About the Program
Our goal with the YogaSlackers 12 Days of Handstands is to empower participants around the world to train handstands wherever they are with the support of an online community.
In this page you will find this month’s training program. We update this page during the last days of the month. Join our newsletter to receive a notification when the new training program is loaded.
We also recommend you join our Facebook group to connect with our community of supportive and dedicated handstanders around the world.
Funded By People Like You
Thank you for joining the YogaSlackers 12 Days of Handstands. This training program is supported by your contributions.
Make a one-time or monthly contribution to support the creation of handstand training videos, monthly training programs and online support. Any amount helps.
Give monthly. We set up a Paypal Subscription plan at $5 per month. You can cancel your subscription at any time. But we hope seeing that $5 payment at the beginning of the month serves as an additional incentive to train!
Practice your handstands on a wood board, hard carpet, or a thin yoga mat. This will help you absorb some of the pressure created on your hands while handstanding, without creating too much instability.
Avoid practicing on soft surfaces – such as thick carpets, puzzle mats or thick yoga mats – as the instability created by them can put your joints in compromised positions.
Nothing fancy is needed. I use a homemade 1/2 in (3.81cm) plywood board.
Clear out some space around a wall or pillar in your home. Make sure to clear up enough space to create a safe fall zone in case you fall in any direction.
Remember to use your thin yoga mat or handstand board during your wall training drills.
We use yoga blocks to help us maintain proper forearm alignment. If you don’t have any, think outside the block and experiment using water bottles, books or boxes.
This Month's Drills
Choosing your Level
The original challenge involves holding cumulative minutes. You will start a timer as soon as your feet leave the ground and stop the timer as soon as your feet return to the ground. During your next handstand you will continue the timer until you accumulate your desire time for the day.
This drill is about ‘time on your hands’. Form and entrance style are not as important as holding your handstand.
There are two main ways to do this:
1) Practice one cumulative minute handstand per day of the month until day 12th.
Day 1, 1 cumulative minute.
Day 2, 2 minutes… all the way to
Day 12, 12 minutes.
2) Or spread the 12 days throughout the month. Keeping track of what day you are on.
If you choose to practice the original challenge, attempt all your handstands off the wall. You may use a spotter to avoid falling, but if you touch the spotter or a wall, come down immediately and try again.
This challenge is all about learning to enter a handstand and how to balance a handstand off the wall by doing small movements. If you use a wall or a spotter to go up without control or if you touch the wall and continue holding the handstands then this challenge will be less effective.
If you feel like you need a spotter or a wall to enter the handstand, then we recommend you do not attempt this level yet, and instead attempt level 1, 2 or 3.
Recommended Warm Up
Full Warm Up Series
Warm ups are very personal. What your body needs to warm up, is probably really different than what is needed by someone else. If you are tight your warm up should focus on opening up your muscles and releasing tension. If you are very flexible, your warm-up may required more strengthening moves. If something hurts, then we need to release and prepare the muscles that support the aching joint.
There are so many variables. With that in mind, try this warm up series. It works for me and several of my students. I am looking forward to hear how it worked for you.
Full Belly to the Wall Practice with Stretching
Use this training video as this month's warm up. The video will guide you to a full minute of Belly to the Wall. Instead, break the minute between Belly to the Ground, transition to the wall, hold the Wall Tightness Drill and finally transition to your Belly to the Wall. Practice the full stretching routine and feel free to add more!
The PDF has the information on how long to hold the drills based on your level of practice.
Belly to the Ground Drill
This drill will help us find our handstand line in a position that is not weight bearing. Do not get confused… this is NOT a resting pose.
Wall Tightness Drill
This is a short and effective drill to help us engage our core while being upside down. Practice this drill after a few rounds of belly to the ground and before practicing belly to the wall.
Belly to the wall
Belly to the wall is an amazing drill. It may take you some time to make friends with it, but once you do, it will be your handstand's best friend forever.
Check another video explaining this drill and the use of a spotter in our IG account.
Focus on the external rotation of your upper arms and on keeping your ribs in. Remember, whatever you do here, you will repeat during your inversions. Practice with consciousness and control.
Downward Dog to Turbo Dog
Practice scapular elevation and the external rotation of the upper arm.
Practice scapular elevation, external rotation of the upper arm while learning proper shoulder alignment.
Supine Tuck Ups with Wall
This drill will help us understand the pathway we want to follow while entering a handstand through a Tuck Up.
Supine Pike Ups
This drill is a good way to work on our body mechanics while waking up the hamstrings and core. Throughout the entire movement focus on keeping a hollow body position. Ribs in and lower back flush on the ground.
Use these inversions to work on your core engagement while inverted. If possible enter through a pike up.
Attempt to bring your ribs to touch your hips *while* finding full extension in your hips.
Forearm Balance is a great tool to learn to balance a handstand. In a sense your forearm will act as a giant hand. The balance will come from there, and with time you will learn to dial in the balance and need less space to balance… aka, move towards balancing with your hands.
Dolphin on the Wall
In this drill we continue working with the external rotation of the upper arm and the scapular elevation. Now with most of your weight.
This pose can be particularly challenging if your shoulders are tight. Check an additional video explaining this drill and the use of a spotter in our IG account.
L-Handstand on the Wall
The goal of this pose is to work on the strength and flexibility required to hold a handstands. We want to focus on making a straight line from your arms all the way to your hips.
Wall Scissor or Alternating Legs
Let's find our core while learning to carry our handstands on our hands. You will need a pair of yoga blocks for this drill. They will help you maintain your forearm alignment. Do this drill after a few rounds on the Wall Tightness Drill.
Single Leg Tuck on Wall
This drill will help us find the compression and back roll required to jump, press and hold certain handstand shapes. The focus of this drill is strengthening our back muscles and increasing our shoulder and upper back mobility. Yes, you will feel it on your hamstrings too, but that's a secondary benefit! Use blocks next to your forearms to make sure that as the leg reaches the ground the shoulders stay on top of the hands. Avoid bypassing the shoulder strength by moving the ribs close to the wall.
Attempt to keep the hips over the shoulders for as long as possible. This will be limited by your hamstring flexibility.
Tuck Hold on Wall
Entering and exiting your handstand through a cartwheel helps to train your sideways stability and can help you feel more comfortable to bail out of handstands. Keep straight arms and use the power of the legs to drive yourself up into the handstand.
1st Position Hold on Wall
This drill is a tough and effective one. Useful for those that want to learn how to press a handstand, open shoulders, gain endurance and have some awesome fun with a wall.
Which ever entrance you are practicing this month keep two things in mind:
Tuck | Pike: Read this as practicing a tuck up, followed by a pike up. Repeat this sequence to finish your set.
Pike Ups with Blocks
Piking up can be a challenging drill. To make this drill a little easier, let's use a spotter and blocks. The spotter is there to help us enter our handstand in one fluid motion. While the blocks are there to remind us to roll into the position instead of moving the shoulders too far over hands.
Kneeling Pike with Blocks
Mastering the four variations of this drill will help you master all other handstand entrances.
Determine your own goal. Let’s say a 15 second handstand. Practice your handstand, free – off the wall – until you reach three handstands at your goal or after attempting your goal for 10 minutes, whatever happens first.
If you do not make your goal, decide if you need to reassess the length of your goal or if you would like to continue reaching for it throughout the rest of the month.
If you reached your goal in less than 5 handstands attempts. Consider if you need to push yourself a little further. Then do it!
End each practice with 5 minutes of meditation.
Explore how your core engagement helps you stay centered. Observe how the breath can create a shift in your center of gravity. See how you can modify your breath to take full breaths without rocking your body forwards and back. Then apply that change in your breathing pattern to your next handstand practice.
Report Your Progress
Post a video, image, quote or support message in our 12 Days of Handstands Facebook Group. It helps us stay inspired to practice! Post your successes, but most importantly post your struggles. Let’s use this group to support each other practices.
If you have not joined our monthly subscription program, please do. It helps Raquel stay focused on creating programs, providing online support to participants and to buy groceries.
Yes, share this page with your friends.