Handstands are great for relieving stress and reducing depression. They strengthen the shoulders, arms and wrists while stretching the abdomen and improving balance.
HOW TO DO IT:
Be sure to stretch your wrists before beginning the handstand. Remember, it’s normal to feel afraid of falling in inverted poses. For support in this pose, you may do it against a wall.
Begin in Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) with your back facing the wall. Place your hands shoulder-width apart with fingertips a couple inches away from the wall. Firm your shoulder blades down against your back as you spread your palms and press firmly into the floor with your index fingers.
Step in with one foot while keeping your opposite leg actively extended. Kick up against the wall. It’s okay if it takes a few tries. Engage your abdomen as your hips align over your shoulders. If you want added support, you may rest the crown of your head on a padded bolster between your hands. You will still enjoy the benefits of inversion this way.
Allow your head to hang in a neutral position. Tilt your tailbone forward to lengthen your spine. Roll your thighs in as you bring the outer parts of your legs together.
Hold for 15 seconds to one minute, or as long as is comfortable for you. Gently come out of the pose, one foot at a time. Rest for a few breaths, taking note of how you feel. Repeat, being sure to alternate which leg you use to kick up into the handstand. As always, remember to breathe.