Handstands look so cool when you’re not biting it on the pavement or in the living room in front of your friends!

Learning to fall out of handstands is essential for eventually maintaining handstands and for keeping all of the pictures on your walls safe.  Before you move your handstand practice from the wall to the middle of the room, consider two things:  your environment and your escape plan.

Your environment

This is a no brainer:  MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY HAVE ROOM!  It is simple, I know, but even I have skipped this step and paid dearly. (Just ask my shin and a 1930s Venezuelan Cuatro.)If there isn’t enough space, move the party outside!  There’s plenty of space out there.

Your escape plan

Nailing the perfect handstand every single time just isn’t real life for me, so knowing how to escape from a not-so-Plan-A handstand is good Plan B.There are many different methods out there from which to choose,but I only implement two in my practice, because they are the safest that I’ve found.

The Backbend Method

  • Take your handstand
  • Bend the knees
  • Slightly arch the top of the back
  • Land quietly
The first way is by falling into a backbend. Falling into a backbend should only be tried if you have a comfortable backbend already established. If you’re not sure if your backinto secure, then give a few goes of it on your mat and see how your backbend feels. If your backbend is completely comfortable, then you can fall from your handstand into a nice safe backbend. Try a few handstands to backbends on purpose.  Remember the fear by preparing yourself for the practice of the fall.  As you take your handstand and feel yourself falling over, give your upper back the slightest of arches, bend your knees, and land as softly as possible by engaging the core.

The Cartwheel Method

  • Take your handstand (it’s yours.  You own it.)
  • Feel which way your body is swaying
  • Gaze in the same direction
  • Slightly pivot your body and windmill your legs
  • Land one foot at a time in a standing position

If you are not comfortable performing back-bendy poses, then you have another option:  the cartwheel.

You don’t have to have a perfect cartwheel to fall out of your handstand this way. To use the cartwheel  method, feel which side of your body is more inclined to cartwheel while you’re taking your handstands.  So do you pivot left or right?  To which side do you feel your body is being pulled?  This takes a little intuition and a lot of body awareness.

When you perform your handstand you will feel a shift in your weight going to one side of the body. That is the side of the body to which your whole body will start to fall. Instead of collapsing in the arms. All you have to do is slightly pivot yourself to that side. Lower one foot onto the ground and the other will surely follow.

Send your gaze over to the side of the body wherein the weight is leaning, and you will find your cartwheel there waiting for you. This will leave you in perfect shape and in perfect health to bring yourself all the way back up and try again.

So, go ahead. I know you want to try this stuff out!  Go warm-up first, and give it a go.

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