It’s one of the most commonly asked questions at BodyMindLife. If you’ve been working on handstands for a while and you’re still having some trouble getting upside-down, don’t worry – you’re not alone!

It can take years to master this empowering yet super challenging pose. As kids, most of us didn’t hesitate to throw our legs up in the air and give inversions a go but as adults, it’s natural to feel a little more intimidated.

We sat down with Ari Levanael ahead of his Happy Handstands and Inversions Workshop in August to find out his top five tips for handstand beginners:

1. Build a solid core foundation

Oh, those illusive deep core muscles. Where are they? How can I find them? Can I borrow yours? Handstands can be one of the most difficult asanas to learn in the practice of yoga, but there are many ways to develop the strength you need to support yourself upside down. The key is to target the deeper muscles of the core.

2. Activate the muscles in your shoulder girdle

But wait I thought a girdle was something that ladies wore back in the day? Yes… and no. The shoulder is an arrangement of bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that is better called the shoulder girdle. The primary function of the shoulder girdle is to give strength and range of motion to the arm. We shall be exploring this in the workshop!

3. Balance drills

There are so many ways we can explore balance. Breath, mind, body… and fingers! That’s right, shifting your weight to your fingers for better balance is a key component to handstands.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

There are some exercises you can work on sporadically and still make progress – but handstands are not one of them. The key to a solid handstand is consistency. To build up to this stage you’ll need to be working on them almost daily. There are lots of fun things you can do to progress – and we’ll be running through these in the workshop too.

5. Learn to look at things from a new perspective

With a bit of courage and persistence, going upside-down doesn’t have to be daunting. Try to put aside the fear by building your strength and balance, and if it helps to start with, kick up with the safety of a wall to support you. Lastly, as above and in the words of Pattabhi Jois, practice, practice and all is coming!

Bringing it all together. How to do a yoga handstand with Ari Levanael.

Ari Levanael Yoga Teacher

As teacher, performer and adventurer, Ari focuses on the uniqueness of each person; the demands of both body and individuality. With a long history of yoga practice spanning over 25 years, Ari is a passionate and dedicated student of the yoga tradition. Having studied and practiced with many respected teachers worldwide including; Maty Ezraty, Bharath Shetty, Shiva Rea, Annie Carpenter, Joan Hyman, Simon Park, Nicky Knoff and Shandor Remete to name a few.

Ari is particularly adept at modifying and adapting the yoga practice for any level and is known for creative sequencing that takes students safely to new levels of exploration. With an approach to yoga that fuses breath in relationship to body movements, Ari interweaves elements of creative mandala sequencing in a style that moves between traditional and explorative, in balanced harmony with alignment principles that create a unique and fulfilling yoga experience.

Currently, Ari holds over 1,500 hours of accredited Yoga teacher-training in various styles, merging the traditional with a knowledge of gymnastics, martial arts and aerial acrobatics. Uniting yoga with these great variety of disciplines and embodying it in personal practice.

He now holds teacher trainings, retreats and workshops worldwide while mentoring the next generation of teachers.