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.