One of my most commonly asked questions is HOW to start a handstand practice. As someone who had no formal handstand training, this process was a whole lot of trial and error. And yes... that meant falling on my face more times than I can count.
Here are my TOP FIVE tips I wish someone had told me when I first started my journey upside down:
1. CONSISTENCY. I'll say this until I go blue in the face. To achieve a handstand requires consistent practice. I always say, 5 minutes a day is better than 1 hour once a week. Consistency is KEY to build muscle memory.
2. PROGRESSIONS. Are you comfortable upside down? Is your headstand and forearmstand game on point? Before jumping right into your handstand practice, make sure you nail down the fundamentals. This will not only help your comfort level, but will build the required strength and stability in the shoulders and core!
3. HAND PLACEMENT. This was HUGE for me. I use a technique called "spider fingers", where I am distributing my weight throughout the entire hand. Bending at each knuckle and gripping the mat will help you find balance upside down. There are many different schools of thought here, but I have found this the most rewarding technique.
4. LEARN HOW TO FALL. I believe it is SO important to learn how to safely fall out of a handstand, if not more important than the handstand itself. By learning how to fall, you not only prevent yourself from injury, but you also create a sense of comfortability upside down. That element of fear that holds you back will slowly diminish.
5. USE PROPS. I'll be the last person to ever say that props are a crutch. If they help you, use them. That being said, when you feel as though you are strong enough upside down to step away from the wall or props, you need to listen to that voice and step away. Use props and the wall to build strength and comfort upside down, but listen to your body when you know you are ready to progress.
Lastly, HAVE FUN. I have found so much joy in my handstand practice. It has taught me so much about commitment, dedication, perseverance, and PLAY. Those mountain top moments on your mat WILL come. When they do, you'll look back at your time amidst the valley and be nothing but grateful.