Jumping into L-Shaped Handstand

L-shaped handstand is one of my favorite yoga poses. There are only a handful of classes in the last ten years in which I didn’t teach l-shaped inversions. Headstand, handstand, forearm stand; they are all fierce and go a long way to building the muscles on our back, which I think are hard to access. In every class I teach it is only a matter of time before I intone, “Let’s go to the wall”

There are three layers of muscle running up and down our backs and in yoga these aren’t easy to access. The L-shapes really do the trick. You can do them in a number of ways in order to learn them. You can start with the hands further away from the wall which makes the pose a little easier and allows you to access these back muscles. You can do them in a perfect L which gets you into a slightly deeper layer of muscle and then finally when you are getting very strong you can do them in more of a V, or about an 80 degree angle which really fires up the trapezius, the most surface layer of back muscles, which forms a diamond on the back from the base of the skull to each shoulder and then to the bottom of the rib cage.

In this video I demonstrate jumping into L- shaped handstand both with and without a block between the inner thighs. Working with a block between the inner thighs makes many things harder but more effective. I have a couple of L-Shaped videos on the blog already. Doing them with my children, who I try to encourage as much as possible to do these things in a playful way, and I have one show off video of me walking along the walls of prema yoga studio in Brooklyn.

You can’t do too much L-shaped handstand and I hope this video is fun to watch and helpful as well. Thanks to our resident artist and friend of the blog Sharon Frost for her camerawork.