How to Practice Handstand Tuck Hops
Tuck jumps are a great way to learn how to do the handstand pose (adho mukha vrksasana) without having to fully balance, the knees are bent in a tuck jump. If you are trying out the handstand pose it is easy to jump up too far and fall over. This tuck jump method is great to avoid falling and overcome any fears of balancing upside down.
When attempting an advanced yoga pose such as the handstand be easy on yourself. Remember to orient yourself towards the journey and not the goal in yoga practice. This will help you stay balanced in spirit, body, and mind.
I will go over a beginner method using a wall, this is a more common starting place. However, this can also be done without a wall, especially once you have mastered the tuck jump and “L” position on the wall
I also recommend building core and upper body strength and tuck jumps, especially when jumping without the wall. Avoid tuck jumps if you have any upper body injuries, a headache, heart condition, or have high blood pressure.
Warm-up the body with a few rounds of Sun Salutations and a few yoga poses like plank and boat pose. Here are the steps for the tuck jumps:
1. Use a wall
Come to downward dog pose with your hands placed about a whole hands width apart from the wall. This will make room for your buttocks once you are upside down. Now, walk your feet a step closer to your hands. Start looking down at the floor. Maintain this gaze throughout the tuck jump.
2. Jump into a tuck position with bent knees.
Bend your knees and jump, sending all your weight into your upper body.
Make sure to:
Stack the wrists under the shoulders to distribute your weight properly and avoid a wrist injury.
Avoid collapsing neck and shoulder. Instead, roll shoulders extend neck long.
Press the floor away and avoid locking elbows (passive arms). The arms should be active and engaged the whole time.
Apply the same arm principles in plank to tuck jumps and the handstand.
Your feet and buttocks should be against the wall. Hold for a few breaths. Take a second to mentally record this inverted position. This way you have something to aim for when you are away from the wall.
3. To return, bring the knees into the chest.
Bend the knees, and slowly lower them back down to the floor. Repeat this a few times. Then take a breath in child’s pose. You can then try another set of tuck jumps.
After you master the tuck jumps, you will then want to practice straightening the legs once you catch your balance upside down. However, don’t rush into this step because it is better to build a solid foundation to attempt a potentially dangerous pose without the strength to hold it.